Welcome to the Arkansas Occupational Therapy Association's website!

We are happy you are here! New content for both members and non-members will be added frequently as we continue building our page. If you have ideas or suggestions about what you would like to see on this page, please let us know. We have a lot of exciting plans in the works and we need your support!


Our First Northwest Arkansas Networking Event has been scheduled (Northeast Arkansas will be next!). Both members and non-members are welcome to attend. Come and network with other Occupational Therapy Practitioners in your area. We can also discuss current concerns and issues as well.
Date: Thursday 11-10-16
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
Location: Theo's in Rogers
Address: 3300 S. Market St. Rogers, AR 72758
Please RSVP by sending an email to info@arota.org with "NWA" in the subject line and let us know if you would like to attend. Please indicate the number in your party in the body of the email. Since this is our first NWA gathering, we have no idea what to expect. I may just be sitting there by myself, but I hope not. I look forward to seeing you there!
For Directions, follow this link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/3300+S+Market+St+%23100,+Rogers,+AR+72758/@36.3062944,-94.1907904,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x87c911091f01355d:0x5190406622c18b99!8m2!3d36.3062944!4d-94.1886017?hl=en

10-27-16 RFP for Initial assessment has been released. Public comments can be made to stephen.mckinght@dhs.arkansas.gov and are only open until tomorrow at midnight unless it is extended. The document can be viewed at http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/Pages/procurementDetails.aspx?show=512

10-25-16 Notes from the Therapy Advisory Council Open Meeting

Please note that Lainey Moore Morrow, from the Medicaid Saves Lives Facebook page, had a live stream during most, if not all, of the meeting. It can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/search/str/Medicaid+saves+lives/keywords_top

1. Timely Filing has been turned off. You can now submit billing back to 10-1-2013. This opened on 10-17-16 and will remain open until April 15, 2017. It costs 10 cents to check to see if a child is eligible. There is a webinar on the AFMC website explaining this. It can be viewed at https://afmc.org/health-care-professionals/arkansas-medicaid-providers/policy-and-education/timely-filing-webinar/

2. If you would like to view the live stream from yesterday's meeting, it can be viewed on Representative David Meek's Twitter feed. Several times during today's meeting, people were referred to watch this in order to help answer questions https://twitter.com/davidmeeks

3. PA Process: When the RFP (request for proposal) for the PA process goes out, there will be stipulations that require a 72 hour turn around and PT, OT and STs are the ones doing the reviewing. The workgroup will be involved in helping develop the RFP. The state is aware that historically PAs can take a long time. Since a third party will be under contract to provide this service, they will be legally obligated to the terms of the contract. This issue is a separate issue and it will have it's own public comment period etc.

4. There is some confusion regarding the use of the terms PA and Extension of Benefits. This is being looked into and the appropriate wording will be utilized.

5. When the MD signs your initial RX for more than 90, he/she will know that if the RX is for more than 90, it will have to go to a PA process. You may begin treating at 90 until your PA returns. If you want to take a gamble, or feel certain you will get your PA, you can go ahead and treat at the greater amount keeping in mind, you cannot bill for it until your PA is returned.

6. If you see children in your clinic who also receive therapy in public school, there may be some issues regarding going over minutes. It was recommended that you practice "Coordinated Care" in which you know and are aware of how much time they are receiving in school and if Medicaid is being billed. Also, you may decide if one or the other agency is going to submit the PA or may agree that the excess time will be covered by educational funds if the PA is denied.

7. The 90 MPW threshold does not pertain to children in acute care hospitals--only those receiving DD services.

8. Regarding the "Independent Assessment"-it will also have it's own timeline and public comment dates. This was described as being more of a "Developmental Screening" versus an actual PT/OT or ST evaluation. It would only pertain to DDTCS and CHMS centers versus independent provider clinics. If a child/family is unable to get to the clinic doing the screening, the person doing the screening must go to them.

9. The 90 MPW threshold public comments are open until 11-13-16, BUT it will go in front of the Public Health Committee on 10-31-16. From there, it would be voted on in December to go into effect on July 1, 2017.

10. There is a new IEP process/paperwork that is being piloted in some areas. More information on this (including a powerpoint and webinar) can be found at https://arksped.k12.ar.us/index.html

11. Many of you want to be involved in the workgroup or feel out of the loop. Anyone can attend the large workgroup meetings, but only a few representatives from that large group actually go and present what is discussed in the large group. If you are interested in attending the large workgroup meetings, I will get the information from our Medicaid Representative and begin posting them here. We are also going to start town hall type meetings in various areas of the state. I am really excited about this and looking forward to it. Please stay tuned to this page and our facebook page for more information.

12. Will the time be increased to 120? The way the current proposal is written, it is written as a 90 MPW threshold. If the wording of the document changes, the process must begin over again with a different public comment period etc. Again, the public comment period on the 90 MPW threshold is still open. This still has to go in front of the Health Care Committee and it must eventually be voted on before it would eventually take effect on July 1, 2017.

13. Do the members of the workgroup get paid or get a kickback for money saved etc.? None of the workgroup receive any money from our organization or DDS/Medicaid as an incentive to make decisions or serve on the workgroup.

14. *****UNRELATED to the 90 MPW issue, REGARDING PREMATURITY ADJUSTMENT---this will be outlined in the new Medicaid Manual, but therapists need to adjust for prematurity BASED ON WHAT THE TEST INDICATES. For example, currently in the Medicaid manual it states to adjust for prematurity until the child is 1 year of age, but some tests say to adjust until the child is 2 years of age (the PDMS-2).

15. ******UNRELATED to the 90 MPW issue, REGARDING TESTS AND PROTOCOLS---if a new edition of an existing approved test comes out, it is automatically accepted. You may continue to use old editions of tests AS LONG AS CURRENT PROTOCOLS ARE STILL IN PRINT AND CAN BE PURCHASED FROM THE PUBLISHING COMPANY.

16. Many had complaints about this all coming out of nowhere, feeling in the dark etc. I can only speak for AROTA, but I make information available as soon as I receive it. Your membership is appreciated, but not mandatory to read this page or our facebook page. That being said, please consider renewing/joining today! Our fight is not over and many believe we have a long road ahead of us. I am still hoping to get a lobbyist for us in the near future. We are the only assocation that currrently has no one representing our interests. We are relying on the lobbyists of the other organizations. For now, we may all be fighting for the same thing, but when other important issues arise, we need someone looking out for our interests as well.

10-19-16 Public Comment from Melissa Stone, DDS Director

Subject: Public Comment

Good afternoon,
I wanted to let you all know that we are extending the public comment period on the speech, occupational and physical therapy rule until Nov. 13. As you probably know, we have had a tremendous response to the proposed rule change already. I am personally reviewing the responses along with a team from DHS, and these comments will be considered seriously before we make decisions about whether the proposed rule needs to be changed. I’ve already talked with dozens of families and therapists and read hundreds of comments, and understand people have real concerns about the impact of this rule.
Please let interested therapists and others who are watching this rule know that the comment period has been extended.

Melissa Stone, DDS Director

 10-18-16 Public Comment time frame regarding the 90 MPW Medicaid proposal has been extended to 11-13-16. Please visit https://www.medicaid.state.ar.us/general/comment/comment.aspx
Comments may be made to becky.murphy@dhs.arkansas.gov

10-17-16 AROTA has a new Legislative Representative! Dr. M. Tracy Morrison
We are excited to have someone with her background and knowledge serving in this position. Her bio and contact information can be found at https://www.astate.edu/college/conhp/departments/occupational-therapy/people-details.dot?pid=042357af-1643-4475-9eb1-d6a13430a15e

10-6-16 From our Medicaid Representative, Angela Traweek regarding the proposed changes:

Prepared by the Workgroup of Pediatric Health Professions:

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)-Division of Developmental Disabilities Services is currently developing recommendations to present to the Health Reform Legislative Task Force to meet the cost saving goals set by Governor Hutchinson. In an effort to be proactive in developing cost saving recommendations that would not jeopardize access to or decrease the quality of services for children and adults with special needs, a Workgroup of Pediatric Health Professions was formed to work collaboratively with DDS. This Workgroup consists of representatives from ARPTA, AROTA, ArkSHA, CHMS, DDTCS, DDPA, and Early Intervention Providers.

If DHS-DDS is unable to develop sound cost saving recommendations, it is very likely that the state will move to managed care for the oversight and management of therapy for children and adults with special needs.

The Notice of Rule Making issued on September 15, 2016, refers to one of the recommendations made by the Workgroup in collaboration with DHS-DDS.

The following details the components of the recommendation in an effort to answer a number of questions and concerns that have been raised by therapists and families throughout the state:

  • The effective date of this recommendation is July 1, 2017.
  • Prior authorization would be required only for therapy recommended above 90 minutes per week per discipline (ST, PT, OT).
  • Recommendation of any therapy at, below or above the 90 minutes per week per discipline would still have to be justified by the results of the evaluation and the therapist’s clinical opinion as defined by Medicaid in the respective therapy provider manuals, which is current practice.
  • The physician would still be required to review the evaluation report and recommendations for therapy and complete the DMS 640 (prescription for therapy services), which is current practice.
  • A pending prior authorization for therapy above 90 minutes per week would not prevent the therapist from beginning treatment at the 90 minutes per week level as long as the therapist had the signed DMS 640 from the physician.
  • The prior authorization process will be performed by a 3rd party vendor selected through the state’s RFP process.
  • It is not expected that any additional documents will be required for the prior authorization process except a cover form submitted with the signed DMS 640 from the physician and the evaluation report supporting the recommendation for therapy at a level above 90 minutes per week.
  • It is expected that the reviewers for prior authorization will be credentialed pediatric therapists with experience both in years and in specialty areas.
  • It is expected that the timeline for the reviewers to complete the prior authorization process will be quick so as not to create a delay in services.
  • An appeal process will be in place with respect to prior authorization denials.

The Workgroup believes that this recommendation is responsive to the request of both the Governor and the Health Reform Legislative Task Force in providing cost saving measures that are not detrimental to providing access to and delivery of quality services for children and adults with special needs.

9-23-16 Medicaid Proposed Changes from our Medicaid Representative, Angela Traweek:
Notification of Public Comment Period for Proposed Changes to the Medicaid Regulations related to provision of PT, OT and ST services.

As many of you are aware, our state is currently undergoing Medicaid payment reform. This is due to the steady rise in utilization of Medicaid dollars. Initially, the state considered a rate reduction of 3-6% across the board. Association representatives came together to discuss other options that could be brought to the table for consideration. After much discussion and analysis on ways to approach savings to Medicaid spending without imposing reimbursement rate reductions, the therapy associations along with the CHMS and DDPA proposed that the state consider placing a 90 minute per week, per discipline cap on therapy with the option of requesting prior authorization for any treatments recommended to exceed the cap.
The Therapy Advisory Council met on September 14th with the intent of discussing the details of how the prior authorization process would work. It was at the beginning of this meeting that the therapy association representatives learned that Medicaid has written the 90 minute cap into proposed regulations and the notice for public comment period had already been issued that very day.
The intention was and still is for therapists to have the option to submit for prior authorization any therapy recommendation exceeding the cap.
In Summary:
On September 14, 2016, Medicaid submitted proposed changes to the manual for therapy. The public comment period on these proposed changes ends on October 14, 2016. Below is an excerpt of the proposed changes from one of the Medicaid provider manuals – this change is repeated in all Medicaid provider manuals that reference PT, OT and ST services.   Please go to the Arkansas Medicaid website at www.medicaid.state.ar.us to review the proposed changes and the process for public comment. The state has set a public hearing regarding this matter along with several proposed changes to other industries on September 30th at 11:00 AM at the DHS Building downtown Little Rock. The public hearing will be held in Conference Room B. The DHS building is located at 7th and Main Streets in Little Rock.

Occupational, physical and speech therapy services are available to beneficiaries in the ARKids First-B program and must be performed by a qualified, Medicaid participating Occupational, Physical or Speech Therapist. A referral for an occupational, physical or speech therapy evaluation and prescribed treatment must be made by the beneficiary’s PCP or attending physician if exempt from the PCP program. All therapy services for ARKids First–B beneficiaries require referrals and prescriptions be made utilizing the “Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy for Medicaid Eligible Recipients Under Age 21” form DMS-640. View or print form DMS-640.

Occupational, physical and speech therapy referrals and covered services are further defined in the Physicians and in the Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy Provider Manuals. Physicians and therapists must refer to those manuals for additional rules and regulations that apply to occupational, physical or speech therapy services for ARKids First–B beneficiaries.

Arkansas Medicaid applies the following daily therapy benefits to occupational, physical and speech therapy services in this program:

  1. Medicaid will reimburse up to four (4) occupational, physical and speech therapy evaluation units (1 unit = 30 minutes) per state fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) without authorization. Additional evaluation units will require an extended therapy request.
  2. Medicaid will reimburse up to six (6) occupational, physical and speech therapy units (1 unit = 15 minutes) weekly, per discipline, without authorization. Additional therapy units will require an extended therapy request.
  3. All requests for extended therapy services must comply with the guidelines located within the Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy Provider Manual.


General Information

In Arkansas, Occupational Therapy is regulated by the Arkansas State Medical Board. For licensure information, please contact:

Arkansas State Medical Board
1401 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 340
Little Rock, AR 72201-2936
(501) 296-1802     

For the Arkansas OTA change/add supervision form and tracking log, please visit:

Depending upon your practice setting, you may need an NPI (National Provider Identifier). It is free and can be obtained online at:

In order to become a Medicaid Provider in Arkansas, please visit:

Professional Development Unit (PDU) online calculator (converts contact hours and CEUs into PDUs):