Connect with us

Local News

Lack of financing may force the closure of several senior centers in Arkansas



Benton, Arkansas – An urgent meeting to consider the fate of multiple senior centers in Central Arkansas was convened on Monday night.

Before the meeting, people demonstrated their support for the facilities by gathering outside the Benton Senior Center, while inside, talks about the center’s viability as an open space took place.

Many people, including Judy Rusch, use a senior center, who described how it’s much more than just a venue to meet new people.

“It’s social. It’s helpful with connecting you with insurance people that help you make decisions on Medicare. There are meals [and] there are field trips,” said Rusch.

But this week, rumors circulated that eight senior centers would undergo significant renovations or perhaps close very soon:

• Arkadelphia
• Benton
• Bryant
• Glenwood
• Gurdon
• Malvern
• Mt. Ida
• Murfreesboro

The emergency meeting and decision to continue working with the insurance carriers were prompted, according to the Central Arkansas Development Council, which oversees the centers, by the termination of COVID money and years of excessive spending.

“They are underfunded. To get down to the skinny of it they are underfunded. And CADC has been taking organizational funds to support these centers because we understand the need,” said Randy Morris, CEO of Central Arkansas Development Council.

Without reducing the budget, the board decided to extend the contract by an additional four months. They are going to lose $700,000.

The insurance businesses, West Central and Care Link, will then make a pitch for new management.

“With your help and the people in these centers, we will be holding some meetings here in Benton and Bryant, so that y’all can come and talk with us and you can get a better understanding of what’s going on,” said Luke Mattingly, Care Link’s CEO.
A few people in attendance expressed worry that the centers would close due to a lack of financing.
Care Link’s CEO expressed confidence that the senior facilities in Benton and Bryant will stay open despite the change in administration, even if he couldn’t guarantee anything.



Continue Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *