Nursing Homes in Arkansas
Reduced bone density, muscle weakness and other physical changes make it difficult for many seniors to prepare meals, maintain their homes and perform other activities. Not everyone has the option of moving in with a family member or hiring a home health aide, making nursing homes a valuable resource for Arkansas seniors.
Nursing homes provide around-the-clock medical care, helping residents avoid health complications and enjoy a higher standard of living. Staff members also provide personal care and help residents with grooming, bathing and other activities of daily living. In Arkansas, 17.5% of the population is 65 and older, and just under 15,000 of those seniors live in nursing homes. As of 2022, Arkansas had 220 certified nursing facilities to meet the needs of its residents.
The cost of nursing home care is an important consideration for Arkansas seniors. This guide explains the nursing home coverage rules for Medicare and Medicaid and outlines the regulations all Arkansas nursing homes must follow when admitting and caring for residents. It also provides helpful resources for seniors who need more information about paying for care.
Cost of Arkansas Nursing Homes
The average cost of nursing homes in Arkansas is $155 per day. This is higher than the national average which is $228 per day.
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Nursing Home Care in Arkansas?
Arkansas Medicaid pays for nursing home care as long as a doctor or other licensed health professional indicates that it's medically necessary. By the end of 2022, Arkansas had enrolled 1,035,768 individuals in its Medicaid program, increasing access to skilled nursing care. Medicaid pays for nursing care, rehabilitative services, laboratory tests and other services provided by long-term care facilities.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Arkansas
Medicaid has strict income and asset requirements. As of 2022, single applicants must earn no more than $32,904 per year and have no more than $2,000 worth of assets. The limits increase to $65,808 per year in income and $3,000 in assets for married couples, but only if both spouses are applying for coverage. If one spouse needs Medicaid and the other doesn't, the applicant has an income limit of $32,904 per year and an asset limit of $2,000. The non-applicant spouse may own assets valued at up to $148,620.
Arkansas residents must meet additional eligibility requirements to receive Medicaid coverage for nursing home care. These requirements are as follows:
- Full-time resident of Arkansas
- U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or other qualified noncitizen
- Disabled, blind or at least 65 years old
Applying for Medicaid in Arkansas
Seniors have several options for applying for Medicaid. Access Arkansas has an online application that helps determine eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits. The portal allows each individual to save their application, upload verification documents and track the status of a completed application, making it the most convenient option.
Arkansas residents can also use these application methods:
- Call (800) 482-8988 to apply by telephone.
- Visit a county Department of Human Services office.
- Download the application from the Arkansas DHS website. Completed forms should be mailed to the applicant's county DHS office.
What Information You Will Need
Since Medicaid has income, asset, residency and citizenship requirements, each applicant must provide documents to help DHS staff verify the information provided. These documents may include:
- Social Security cards
- Birth certificates
- Citizenship paperwork
- Pay stubs
- Federal and state tax returns
- Wage statements
- Bank account statements
- Property deeds
- Insurance policies
Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Arkansas
The Medicaid application is lengthy, so it's not unusual for applicants to have questions or need assistance filling out the paperwork. These organizations can help.
|Arkansas State Health Insurance Assistance Program
|Arkansas SHIP offers personalized guidance to help residents understand their options for coverage. Counselors have in-depth knowledge of the Medicaid eligibility guidelines, enabling them to answer questions and make referrals to other organizations as needed.
|Legal Aid of Arkansas
|Legal Aid of Arkansas assists low-income individuals with civil legal matters, including Medicaid denials and other problems related to public benefits. Legal Aid also provides referrals to other organizations when needed.
|Medicaid Call Center
|The Medicaid Call Center has trained agents available to answer questions about Medicaid eligibility and help applicants complete the required paperwork. Seniors already enrolled in Medicaid can also call to ask questions about coverage and renewals.
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Nursing Home Care in Arkansas?
Medicare provides limited coverage for short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, but seniors must meet a number of specific requirements. This benefit is available to beneficiaries who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge, so it's most valuable for those who are recovering from an injury, illness, or surgery.
Once seniors meet the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing per benefit period. The first 20 days are covered in full. Starting on day 21, beneficiaries must pay a daily coinsurance rate. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.
What Does Medicare Cover?
Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:
- A semiprivate room
- Skilled nursing
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Audiologist care
- Medical supplies
- Medical social services
- Nutritional counseling
- Ambulance transportation
What Isn't Covered by Medicare?
Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors' day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.
For more information about Medicare and when it covers Nursing Home Care, read our Guide to Nursing Homes.
Medicare Support & Resources in Arkansas
Although Medicare doesn't cover indefinite nursing home stays, it may pay for some services provided by nursing home staff and outside providers. The organizations below provide information and referrals to help seniors and their loved ones better understand the Medicare guidelines.
|Arkansas Department of Human Services
|Arkansas DHS oversees many programs designed to help seniors access health care services. One of those programs is the Senior Medicare Patrol, which educates older adults about Medicare fraud and provides valuable tips for identifying Medicare waste and abuse.
|Arkansas Insurance Department
|The Arkansas Insurance Department protects consumers by handling complaints about insurance companies. It also enforces the state's insurance laws and prosecutes cases of insurance fraud, which helps keep costs in check.
|Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging
|Area Agencies on Aging provide an array of services to adults aged 60 and older. These services include care coordination and veteran assistance. Seniors who need more information should contact the Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging for a referral to the AAoA in their area.
|Area Agency on Aging of West Central Arkansas
|The AAoA for West Central Arkansas provides Medicare counseling as part of its services. Staff members are available to answer questions about eligibility, help seniors determine if they should sign up for Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage and provide information on prescription coverage.
Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Arkansas
While Medicaid and Medicare are two of the most common programs used to pay for Nursing Home Care, there are other financial assistance options available, depending on your unique situation.
|How to Apply
|How It Works
|Aid and Attendance
|Learn more and apply online at va.gov.
|Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for skilled nursing care.
|Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov.
|If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for nursing care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. This type of funding can be especially useful for married couples when only one partner needs nursing care, as the other residents of the home may continue living there. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
|Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance
|Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.
|Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be covered for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost of nursing home care, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.
Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Arkansas
|All nursing homes must be licensed by the Office of Long Term Care. If a single company owns multiple facilities, each facility must have its own license. Any time a company sells one of its nursing homes, both buyer and seller must alert the OLTC.
|Nursing homes must have enough direct-care staff members to help residents with their needs. This includes having one direct-care employee for every six residents during daytime hours.
|Staff Training Requirements
|Every nursing home must provide training on fire safety, evacuation procedures and abuse reporting. All new employees must also complete an orientation session that covers their job duties and introduces them to the facility's layout and disaster-response plan.
|Nursing homes must screen their prospective residents for infectious illnesses. Every new resident must also undergo a comprehensive assessment, either 72 hours after admission or no more than 15 days before admission. A nursing home can't admit a new resident without a physician's recommendation.
|Care Planning Requirements
|Every resident must have a care plan developed based on a physician's recommendations. A comprehensive care plan includes information about the patient's needs, along with a list of medications, rehabilitative services, treatments and activity restrictions.
|Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements
|Nursing homes must provide three nutritious meals per day. At minimum, residents must receive 5 ounces of meat, two 8-ounce servings of milk, four servings of grains and four servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Nursing homes must also provide snacks between meals.
|Specialized Rehabilitative Services
|Residents have the right to receive specialized rehabilitative services. Nursing homes that don't offer these services aren't allowed to admit residents needing specialized rehabilitation until they make alternative arrangements. If a nursing home offers specialized rehabilitation, it must have written policies governing service delivery.
|Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
|A nursing home must have written orders from a licensed health care provider before administering any medications. Resident medications must be stored in their original containers and kept in a secure area. Only authorized nursing personnel may administer medications to nursing home residents.
|Nursing homes must offer at least two activities per day. Each activity must meet a resident's physical and emotional needs, appeal to their interests and be modified according to their limitations when needed. Residents must receive advance notices of each activity.
|Infection Control Requirements
|Nursing homes must maintain written policies and procedures regarding infection control. These documents must cover the disposal of used medical supplies, isolation techniques and other infection control processes. All facilities must also prohibit residents from sharing towels, drinking cups and other items.
|Arkansas has a Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports program, which covers the care provided in nursing homes. Applicants must meet financial eligibility criteria to qualify for this type of coverage.
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