Mercy Health of Arkansas has formed a joint venture with Centene subsidiaries LifeShare and Arkansas Health & Wellness, branded as Arkansas Total Care.

The joint venture has received insurance licence from the Arkansas Insurance Department to become a risk-based provider organization (RBPO).

The licence will enable the new venture to manage a Medicaid special needs population comprised of individuals with high behavioral health needs. Arkansas Total Care will manage and take on full-risk of this population staring January 2019.

As part of the transition, Arkansas Total Care will offer care coordination services to the population beginning early next year.

Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas president Steve Goss said: “The Arkansas Department of Insurance and the Department of Human Services have been leaders and partners during this organizational stage.  Mercy looks forward to being part of a high-quality program of services for thousands of our community members and their families, owing to the DHS team’s support and the excellence of the Centene organization and its network.”

Arkansas Health & Wellness president and CEO John Ryan said: “Receiving this license is a significant milestone in our path to serve the state’s most vulnerable populations. We believe provider-led health plans can ensure providers are leading healthcare decisions that result in better health outcomes for members at a lower cost to the state.”