In a move that stunned 13,000 patients and 2,300 staff, the State of Arkansas has given them six months to find another agency. The staff who contract with the state are expected to wind down and seek alternative employment with private agencies. Meanwhile, private sector, home care providers are expected to absorb most of the patients over the next 6 months.
Govenor Asa Hutchinson stated he agreed with the decision to phase out the program and allow others to take care of its patients. The program served over 18,000 patients in 2011 and has steadily dropped to its current level of 13,000 this year. Since the Arkansas Department of Health administers the program, tax payers were being forced to assume more responsibility for overhead and decreasing participation.