Local Families Fight Against Medicaid Cuts for Assisted Living Facilities

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A number of changes and reforms to services for the elderly and those with disabilities could go into effect in January.

This comes after a proposal to cut Medicaid reimbursement payments to assisted living facilities cleared the public health committee.

On Tuesday Arkansans went to Little Rock to voice their concerns to the rules and regulations subcommittee.

One local woman says these changes could force her mom into a lower level of care.

“It’s going to affect all of us so we got to make a difference. We’re got to help out parents, we’ve got to help my mom,” Susan Gleghorn said.

Gleghorn says she can’t think of any better place for her 85-year-old mother, Helen, to be than in an assisted living facility in Bentonville.

“They do these things to keep my mom active, it keeps her thinking and feeling like she has a purpose, and in a nursing home they can’t afford to do those things,” Gleghorn said.

The Medicaid program, Living Choices, provides coverage for about 1,300 Arkansans in assisted living.

Changes to the program mean a reduction in the rate that DHS pays facilities each day, and a single pay rate for all levels of care.

That rate would be a drop of almost $20 a day.

These cuts could also mean a 21% loss in daily income from Medicaid for assisted living facilities.

Mark White with the Division of Aging Adult and Behavioral Health Services says dhs is doing its best to balance all responsibilities.

“One reason we’ve looked at this rate is when you compare our rate to surrounding states, we pay a rate that’s significantly higher,” White said. “Number one, our responsibility to the beneficiaries. Number two — our obligations to the federal government, and third to our taxpayers.”

But for Gleghorn, nothing is more important that the care for her mother.

If these cuts go through in January, Helen will likely have to move out.

“They’ve lived this long, helping society, now society has to help them. I know there’s other places that the budget can be cut.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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