LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Thousands of Arkansas residents who receive group therapy services through Medicaid will see their sessions capped starting next week after an attempt to repeal the rule change failed.

The change will limit patients to 25 one-hour sessions a year. Previously, the state’s Medicaid program had no cap on the number of sessions and paid for 90-minute daily sessions. The change goes into effect on Oct. 7.

Some lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to rescind the caps during a special meeting on Friday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported ( ).

Supporters said the move will save the state money and curb potential overbilling by health providers. But opponents cautioned that scaling back on mental health services could prompt treatment facilities to close.

State Medicaid Inspector General Elizabeth Smith cited a report indicating that Arkansas’ Medicaid program spent nearly $150 million on group psychotherapy from 2013 to 2015.

Opponents of the rule change had called for a delay until July, and said organizations could be left with no other choice than to close facilities.

“This rule completely obliterates our ability to take care of that population,” said Ruth Allison Dover, Mid-South Health Systems’ chief operating officer.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,