LegalAid hosting Medicaid home-care cut education seminar

JONESBORO, Ark.- In response to widespread cuts in Medicaid ARChoices home-care services for roughly 4,000 Arkansans with disabilities, non-profit Legal Aid of Arkansas will host two public education meetings in northeast and northwest Arkansas.

The meetings will focus on the Medicaid ARChoices program, the computer algorithms used by the state to determine how much care clients receive, and how individuals affected by the cuts can fight the reductions.

The first meeting will happen in Jonesboro on June 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging at 2005 E. Highland Dr. #303. The second meeting will happen in Bentonville on June 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the central library at 405 S. Main St. Both events will be accessible for people with disabilities.

The events will also be broadcast via Facebook Live from Legal Aid of Arkansas’s Facebook page and via webinar (for webinar registration, contact Kevin De Liban at kdeliban@arlegalaid.org).

Since the Department of Human Services started using computer algorithms in 2016, nearly half of the 8,000 ARChoices program clients have been cut. Individuals with disabilities like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and quadriplegia have seen cuts in services between 20% and 60%, forcing them to lie in their own waste, skip meals, stay shut in, miss medications, and go without other basic necessities. Although ARChoices is supposed to keep people who are elderly or disabled at home in their communities, the cuts could force people into nursing homes, which cost around three times as much on average as community-based care.

These public education events follow litigation led by Legal Aid on behalf of the over 100 ARChoices clients who have come to Legal Aid for help in the last year. In 2016, Legal Aid sued DHS in federal court and won, with the judge ruling that DHS did not adequately explain the cuts. After DHS refused to negotiate around remaining problems with the algorithms, Legal Aid was forced to sue DHS again, this time on behalf of seven plaintiffs in state court. In February 2017, Legal Aid won a temporary restraining order forcing the state to halt the cuts for the seven plaintiffs. Although a trial on the issue was set for July 2017, DHS appealed that ruling, causing the trial to be delayed indefinitely. The appeal is currently pending in the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Legal Aid of Arkansas is a non-profit legal aid provider that helps low-income Arkansans in civil legal matters. For further information on the ARChoices public education meetings, contact Kevin De Liban at (901) 834-0436 or at kdeliban@arlegalaid.org.

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1 Comment

  1. Hello fb-world my name is Annette Barnes, I have a son named Willie he is 33 years old, he has been on this program since 2013. He went down on Dec. 8, 2012 with septic pneumonia and congestive heart failure . He was on life support for 11 days the doctors had to revive him 4 times. They don’t tell you if they come of life support that they are not going to be the same person. It left him with brain damage and unable to walk for a few months. He was in the hospital until Jan. 24th of 2013. Due to like of oxygen that left him with the brain damage. thank God he is walking now but he is blind, his balance is bad [like a person that’s drunk or physically disabled] he has to ware pull ups because he has IBS and can’t always control his bowels. he also has to have a walker to balance him so that he can walk. He is on dialysis 3 days a week, has diabetes and high blood pressure. He will never be able to live alone anymore. He lives back home and his 27 year old brother stays home and takes care of him so that I can work. Legal aid of AR has stepped in to help ppl like my son because the AR Dept. of Human Services has created a program called Algorithm in 2016 that decides the hours that the ARChoice clients get. So they have cut the hours that ppl like my son and other disabled ppl need. We need your help to get this message out to everyone how important it is to continue to give us the hours that we need to take care of our love ones. For anyone who needs help with this problem please contact Legal Aid- Kelvin DeLiban @ Kdeliban@arlegal.org or 901-834-0436. Just think about it life isn’t always fair. Things happen. wrecks,sickness all kinds of unforeseen medical issues, if you had a program that you or someone in your family could take care of you or you could take care of your love ones at home wouldn’t you want that or would you just put them in a nursing home. I take almost 3 times as much to take care of someone in a nursing home then taking care of them at home.Just think about it would you want your 33 year old child, sister, brother neice, nephew or yourself spend the rest of their life in the home??? Please fb world, DHS, state of AR, Lawyers and Judges think about it this could be you or your family. Would you want a computer to decide how many hours your life and basic needs worth..??? Just think about it.

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