Arkansas Legislators Concerned About Privatizing Home Health Care

Source: Valerie Van Booven, Home Care Daily, March 15, 2016

This move has some legislators worried that some services may no longer be available for those who need it, especially elderly and disabled who reside in rural areas of the state. The Department of Health sent out notice to more than 500 state employees and 1,800 contract workers who have some involvement in the in home care aspect of the state to inform them that this sale would occur sometime in the summer of 2016. Essentially, according to Department of Health Director Nathanial Smith, the program that’s currently in place is no longer sustainable. … Not all are happy with this decision, like Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville, who states that the state program is the only one in certain areas that provides these types of services and is concerned that those who rely on this level of care might not receive it when the entire program is privatized. …


In-home care in ’16 to go private
Source: Shea Stewart, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 11, 2015

The Arkansas Department of Health on Monday alerted about 500 state employees and 1,800 contract workers that the department’s in-home services program will move to a private-sector provider sometime in 2016. The notification came via a letter from Dr. Nathaniel Smith, department director. The program, started in 1981, offers hospice, home health care, personal care and other services to about 13,000 patients … Department officials don’t expect a disruption in services while transferring the program from the state to one or more private vendors, Smith said in an interview Monday. The transition is expected to take about six months.

Arkansas ending out home health program, affecting more than 2,300 workers and contractors
Source: Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press, August 10, 2015

Arkansas health officials announced Monday that the state is ending a home health care program that serves thousands of people, a move that could leave 2,300 workers and contractors seeking new jobs. … About 13,000 people are served by the program, which provides in-home services such as health care and hospice. Smith said in the letter that the department would help those served by the program move to a private provider over the next several months. About 500 Health Department employees work on the program, along with another 1,800 who contract with the state. A spokeswoman for the department said the agency didn’t have a definite end date for the program, and Smith wrote the process would take at least six months. Smith said the state would assist workers as they try to find jobs with a private provider or elsewhere in state government.