Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

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Learning About the Arkansas Managed Care System

What is a PASSE and what is supposed to do? By Jon Taylor

In October and November, I travelled the state discussing Competitive, Integrated Employment. The best part of those the discussions was the Q & A. Most questions focused on employment, but I always had a few questions regarding services for people with disabilities. I would generally refer someone to Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) if their need was vocational or have them contact their PASSE to get more details around specific needs. Most people were familiar with ARS, but very few knew what a PASSE was. The questions I got about PASSEs fell into these four categories:

What is a PASSE and what is supposed to do?

  • PASSE stands for Provider-Led Arkansas Shared Saving Entity.
  • PASSE is a Medicaid program designed to connect Arkansans with complex behavioral health needs and developmental disabilities to services from their doctors and services in the community.
  • Under Arkansas’ model of organized care, provider-led and owned organizations are responsible for integrating physical health care services, behavioral health services, and specialized home and community-based services (HCBS).
  • The PASSE covers all Medical benefits members would receive under Medicaid with the exception of a few services

What is organized / managed care?

  • An integrated care system or setting in which individuals receive health care from more than one care provider. It is an arrangement of covered providers that includes integrated care delivery and payment options.

What are the responsibilities of a PASSE?

The PASSE is a risk bearing entity that is responsible for the administration of payment to providers. Each PASSE is responsible for building a network of providers to ensure access to care. Each PASSE must ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations governing risk-based organizations and Medicaid managed (organized) care.  The PASSE must also provide every member a Care Coordinator.  The Care Coordinator is responsible for connecting with a member and their family/guardians to develop the Person-Centered Service Plan (PCSP).  This plan encompasses the goals/wants/needs of the member with the member’s treatment for complex behavioral health care and services for the Intellectually/Developmentally disabled (IDD). 

How many PASSEs are there?

There are currently four PASSEs in operation:

  1. Arkansas Total Care
  2. CareSource (Going live 1/1/2022)
  3. Empower Healthcare Solutions
  4. Summit Community Care

After answering those questions, I invariably got some version of this question: What exactly does that all mean? To which my response was let’s find out.

I have invited the leadership of each PASSE to describe what they do, how they view their mission, and their obligations to the Arkansans they serve. As CareSource will go live beginning January 1, 2022, their blog will be posted on next Friday, December 10.

To be clear, the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) neither endorses nor controls Arkansas’s PASSE system.  This blog is presented to share information helpful to Arkansans with developmental disabilities and their families.  You can find more PASSE information on our PASSE Resource Page. Please contact your PASSE with specific questions or complaints, or the PASSE Ombudsman’s Office at

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About the Arkansas Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representation from nonprofit and private organizations. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, browse more pages on this website, or call 501-682-2897. Follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter @gcddar. You can also find Arkansas GCDD on YouTube.