Thousands affected as computer program determines critical care

Thousands affected as computer program determines critical care

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - 8,000 Arkansans are dealing with profound disabilities, and those affected by aging rely on receiving their life-sustaining care in their homes instead of in an institution.

According to NBC affiliate KARK in Little Rock, two years ago, how people received weekly care hours changed.

Sixteen years ago, Shannon Brumley was in a car accident. While he survived, he was paralyzed from the neck down.

He now requires constant care and receives that care at home through the ARChoices program.

The new system, with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, started in 2016 and awards hours.

It uses a computer assessment to place people into certain groups. In the past, nurses would assess clients and assign hours.

Clients answer 280 questions and a computer scores them and assigns the hours.

DHS says the system prevents patients with similar needs from receiving different care hours because of the nurse's discretion.

DHS says they are being proactive with the new system, but others say it is punishing patients.

The Center for Arkansas Legal Services has received hundreds of calls from people saying their hours were reduced or eliminated.

However, DHS says a significant number of people have received an increase in hours under the system but did not provide data to show that.

People can appeal the decision, but critics say even that system is flawed.

To read this whole story, click here.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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