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Points of Light closed by cutbacks

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West Memphis facility shuttered due to Medicaid funding overhaul

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An overhaul of how Arkansas Medicaid program pays for mental health services and reduced reimbursements has resulted in the closure of Points of Light, a 44-bed assisted living facility in West Memphis. According to Arkansas Department of Human Services spokeswoman Marci Manley.

In a Nov. 7 letter to the Human Services Department, Rick Draper, an owner of Points of Light, described waiting up to eight weeks for a state contractor to perform assessments of new residents’ care needs.

According to Points of Light web site, the facility, located at 410 S.

Avalon Blvd., offered activities that allowed its residents to maintain healthy lifestyles and encouraged movement and socialization with their peers.

The facility provided 24hour care to its residents, according to its website and the average per resident cost was an average of just over $3,000 a month.

Draper said the state Medicaid program in 2018 began requiring assessments of new residents’ care needs before it would reimburse facilities such as Points of Light for providing assistance with tasks such as dressing and bathing.

The Arkansas Democrat/ Gazette reported that Draper as chief executive of Life Strategies of Arkansas, which had provided mental health services to residents at Points of Light.

The Little Rock newspaper said Little Rock Community Mental Health Center, which had been in operation for more than 50 years and had about 2,500 patients, shut down in September.

A month later, four of the state’s 12 community mental health centers announced hat they would merge, saying in part that it would crate “a financially stronger and increasingly sustainable organization.”

In 2018 the state Medicaid program, which covers low-income people, began refusing to pay for individual or group therapy for recipients who are also on Medicare, the federal program that provides health benefits to the elderly and disabled.

Medicare will pay for individual or group therapy, but only when it’s provided by certain professionals, including clinical psychologists and licensed clinical social workers.

Licensed professional counselors are required to have a master’s degree in counseling and 3,000 hours of supervised experienced.

Licensed clinical social workers must have a master’s degree in social work and at least 4,000 hours of supervised experienced.

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