Healthy Communities

ASCC - Programs and Services

Who is Eligible for Services from Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission?

The Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission serves only Arkansas residents who have sustained a spinal cord disability. 

Making a Referral

Arkansas state law (ACA 20-8-206requires that: Every public and private health and social agency and attending physician shall report to the commission within five (5) calendar days after identification of any spinal cord disabled person. Within fifteen (15) days of the report and identification of a spinal cord disabled person, the commission shall notify the spinal cord disabled person or the most immediate family members of their right to assistance from the state, the services available, and the eligibility requirements. 

If a healthcare professional, individual with a spinal cord disability or another interested individual identifies someone with a spinal cord disability, contact the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission to make a referral. It is better to refer someone who is not eligible than not to refer someone who is eligible for services.

To make a referral, contact the regional Case Management office or call the ASCC administrative office at 501-296-1788 or 800-459-1517 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Confidential fax is available 24 hours a day at 501-296-1787. Click here for the ASCC Referral Form.

Damage to the Spinal Cord

Spinal cord disabilities result from damage to the spinal cord. ASCC serves only Arkansans whose spinal cord has been damaged. This damage may result from a traumatic spinal cord injury, from a birth defect such as spina bifida or sacral agenesis, or a disease process of the spinal cord including spinal cord tumors, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, or spinal stenosis. This list of diagnoses is not exhaustive and if a health care provider or individual has an individual whom they believe may qualify for services, that individual should be referred and an ASCC Case Manager will be assigned to collect medical records and information to determine the spinal cord disability. Individuals with disabilities of the spinal column that do not affect the spinal cord, the brain or brain stem (only without cord involvement), or the peripheral nerves typically do not qualify for ASCC services.

Medical Criteria

Once an individual is determined to have a spinal cord disability, the ASCC Medical criteria are applied. The medical criteria assess the actual disability or limitations in function resulting from the spinal cord damage. For the purpose of determining disability, the four criteria listed below are used. An individual must have at least three of the following symptoms. Medical records or information will be used to verify these criteria:

Lack of Normal Motor Control / Paralysis - A lack of normal voluntary motor function. There should be enough weakness and/or spasticity to significantly interfere with normal self-care activities and/or mobility. In most cases, this will require the use of a wheelchair, scooter, walker, braces (including AFOs, KAFOS), crutches, or cane for mobility. In some cases, particularly those with a diagnosis of central cord syndrome, the paralysis may be more severe in the arms and hands than in the legs to the point that adaptive devices or assistance is required for completing activities of daily living such as feeding, dressing, and hygiene.

Lack of Normal Sensation - A lack of normal sensation at or below the level of lesion that results in absent or impaired ability to discern touch, pressure, pain (the ability to tell sharp from dull), or temperature (the ability to tell hot from cold). The individual should have enough loss of sensation to have more than normal risk to the skin and musculoskeletal structures.

Loss of Normal Bladder Control - The lack of ability to voluntarily empty the bladder in a timely manner without accidents or the use of equipment or medication. Frequently, individuals with spinal cord injury will present with a neurogenic bladder. When this condition is present, it is usually obvious with symptoms of either urinary incontinence (involuntary voiding) or urinary retention (inability to void). However, with minimal spinal cord damage, the symptoms may be subtler.

Loss of Normal Bowel Control - The lack of ability to voluntarily empty the bowel in a timely manner without accidents or the use of equipment or medication. Frequently, individuals with damage to the spinal cord will present with a neurogenic bowel. 

For additional information regarding the ASCC Medical Criteria, please see the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission Policies and Procedures Manual policy CS-3 – Medical Eligibility Criteria.

Financial Criteria

The Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission and our Case Managers provide numerous services to individuals who have met the medical criteria, including lifelong case management, counseling, guidance, advocacy, resource identification, referral for other services, technical assistance, and other services without regard to income.

When an individual needs purchased services or financial assistance in obtaining equipment or services related specifically to the spinal cord disability, the individual must also meet financial criteria. 

In order for ASCC to assist a client with purchased services:

For additional information regarding the ASCC Financial Criteria please see ASCC Case Management Procedures Manual, Chapter 5, Determining Financial Eligibility

For additional information regarding the procedures and array of services purchased by ASCC, please see ASCC Case Management Procedures Manual, Chapter 10, and Purchasing Services for your Client.

Please note, the ASCC budget for purchased services is small and the agency may not be able to make purchases to meet all of the clients’ needs due to these budgetary constraints.


Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867