Gov. Hutchinson announces new ARHOME initiative timeline, Arkansas Cyber Advisory Board, and COVID-19 update in Tuesday address

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Hutchinson spoke Tuesday afternoon from the Arkansas Department of Human Services to make two announcements concerning the new ARHOME initiative and the beginning of an Arkansas Cyber Advisory Board.

State officials are preparing to submit the waiver application for the ARHOME initiative to the Biden administration on July 14.

After it is submitted there will be two public hearings as the Biden administration federal notice for comments.  Approval for the ARHOME initiative is expected to be given in November or December with the program going live by January 1 if approved.

Hutchinson said the program will improve health care by challenging the healthcare insurance system and serving Arkansans in moving away from poverty and moving into economic independence and better health.

Hutchinson also announced he is signing an Executive Order to create the Arkansas Cyber Advisory Board to identify and manage the risk of cyberattacks and enhance the response to those threats.

The order will direct the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to coordinate with the Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services Division of Information Systems in creating the council.

Gov. Hutchinson’s 12 appointees to the council are:

  • Jonathan Askins, director of the Division of Information Systems and Chief Technology Officer
  • Gary Vance, state Chief Information Security Officer, Division of Information Systems
  • Mike Preston, secretary of the Department of Commerce
  • Jami Cook, secretary of the Department of Public Safety
  • Dr. José Romero, secretary of the Department of Health
  • Cindy Gillespie, secretary of the Department of Human Services
  • Johnny Key, secretary of the Department of Education
  • Major General Kendall Penn, secretary of the Arkansas Military Department
  • Alan McClain, commissioner, Arkansas Insurance Department
  • A.J. Gary, director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management
  • Colonel (Retired) Steve Eggensperger, Governor’s Office Cybersecurity liaison

•     Lee Watson, Forge Institute

Hutchinson said the mission of the council is to help give a good roadmap to invest in cyber security to protect Arkansas systems and information.

The Arkansas Department of Health also released the new COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday, June 15 on the same day that the U.S. death toll surpassed 600,000.

Now there are 950,497 fully immunized and 227,648 partially immunized Arkansans.

The ADH reported that 6,502 vaccine doses were given out over the last 24 hours.

ADH also reported 302 new cases for a total of 344,369 cases.

There are 2,144 active cases, which has seen 109 cases added from Monday’s numbers. 204 hospitalized, which is up one from Saturday, and 47 on ventilators, which is down 1 from yesterday.

Six new deaths were added today, for a total of 5,869.

The Health Department reported the top counties for new cases:

  • Pulaski, 46
  • Washington, 29
  • Saline, 20

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