Area Agency On Aging Of Western Arkansas Loses Medicaid Contract, Laying Off Around 200 Workers

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The Area Agency on Aging of Western Arkansas is laying off around 200 employees after losing a Medicaid contract to two out of state companies.

For over 20 years Area Agency on Aging of Western Arkansas has provided non-emergency medical transportation for 30 counties in the area.

The agency put in a bid for the federally funded contract but lost to another provider. Area Agency learned about the failed attempt back in November, but the approval process finalized in December.

Around 200 people will lose their jobs on January 1, 2019. Most of the workers losing their jobs are drivers, and many are working part-time. About 30% of the drivers work full-time for the agency.

The agency will also close its Northwest Arkansas satellite office in Fayetteville as well.

Jennifer Hallum, CEO of Area Agency on Aging of Western Arkansas, told 5NEWS clients won't see a disruption in service.

"The only change that should be occurring is that there will be possibly a different driver, a different vehicle that will pick them up. If they have any questions, they're concerned, and they want to verify their appointment that they made for January we encourage them to confirm that with the new providers of with DHS," Hallum said.

Clients will be informed about the changes in the mail.

If you have further questions about making arrangements with a driver you are asked to call the Medicaid hotline at 1-888-937-1200.