Page 1


November/December 2020 >> $5 December 2009



Lee Isaac, PsyD, Especially Concerned for Senior Health During Pandemic Seniors isolated by COVID-19 concerns should find other ways to connect than inperson contact Mental health for seniors is a huge concern, especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic where 80 percent of the deaths have been in Lee Isaac, PsyD individuals over the age of 65. The pandemic has drastically uprooted many people’s ways of life, especially when it comes to in-person social interactions. Profile on page 3

Visit our Grand Rounds section starting on page 5 for news all around Arkansas. FOLLOW US



Bringing Care Home Unity Health CEO Steven Webb expanding services, specialties in his hometown BY MELANIE KILGORE-HILL

Unity Health President/CEO Steven Webb has come home, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The Searcy native took the reigns at locally owned Unity Health in 2018, and is growing the non-profit system through unprecedented times.

At home in Searcy

Born into a preacher’s family, Webb spent his childhood years in Arkansas and northern Mississippi. “I always came back to Searcy for holidays and summers because both sets of grandparents were here,” explained Webb, whose grandfather was postmaster in nearby Judsonia. “It’s part of my past and present and I like that.” He said the area’s small-town feel, faith-based community and geographical location are strong draws for he his wife, and their four children. Webb received his Bachelor of Business Administration and Management from (CONTINUED ON PAGE 2)

Addressing a Chronic Killer HCA Hosts Kidney Disease Roundtable with CMS Administrator Seema Verma    BY CINDY SANDERS

HCA Healthcare recently hosted Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and Deputy Administrator Brad Smith for a roundtable discussion with health leaders on advancing kidney care. Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, president of clinical operations and chief medical officer for HCA Health-

care, moderated the event that coincided with an announcement from CMS regarding a new model of care for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic kidney disease. HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest clinical care providers with more than 180 hospitals and over 2,000 sites of care across 21 states and the United Kingdom, was tapped to host the event (CONTINUED ON PAGE 4)

Don’t let a Sports Injury or Joint Pain keep your Patient from Living a Healthy Lifestyle!


The Leader in Central Arkansas for World Class Pain Management







Bringing Care Home, continued from page 1

East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. While working full time at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he pursued a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and went on to complete his Post Graduate Administrative Fellowship at White County Medical Center (now Unity Health). He later served as CEO at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Linden, Texas; administrator at Baptist Health Medical Center Stuttgart; and Vice President of Patient Services at Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock.

A mission

Today, Webb is leading more than 2,250 associates and 160 physicians at the 571-bed system spanning three campuses. Since his earliest days in outpatient care at UAMS, Webb has grown to appreciate the complexity of healthcare. “There are so many aspects of it, but you grow up thinking of a hospital a certain way and don’t really grasp the full picture until you get in there and experience it,” he said. “So many pieces of a puzzle have to come together to deliver good care. That’s what drew me in.” A devout Christian, Webb also was drawn to Unity’s faith-based mission. “I try to live those values, which makes it easier to come to work in a place where you can be open about that and share your thoughts,” he said. “I got into healthcare because I wanted a ministry to serve others. Healthcare has given me that opportunity to put others first. It’s more of a calling or a ministry than a job.”

A new era

Above and beyond MagMutual was the first malpractice insurer to offer our PolicyOwners™ meaningful COVID-19 benefits, including financial relief plus an online library of the latest guidelines. From the exceptional protection, support and rewards we provide every day to critical assistance when you need it most, we move above and beyond to deliver powerful solutions to you.

Webb’s arrival at Unity ushered in the well-earned retirement of Raymond Montgomery II, former system president/CEO and a well-respected leader in Searcy’s healthcare community. Webb said the two still meet regularly to discuss the future of the system. “I’ve been very fortunate to benefit from his wisdom, and willingness to serve as a mentor,” said Webb. “Mr. Montgomery also remains on the board, so he’s still an important part of the organization and is a great resource to tap into.” Webb describes his own management style as “participative and behind the scenes,” and is eager to solicit feedback before making big decisions. “I have a lot of smart people around me who I go to,” Webb said. “I try to be really open and seek out participation.” That team approach was passed down from Montgomery, whose own philosophy of “Love God and love the people” shaped Webb’s own motto: “Work hard, do the right thing and have fun at work.”

Unity Health today




Founded in 1969 as White County Medical Center, the hospital became Unity Health in 2015 with the purchase of Harris Hospital in Newport, and the launch of a Graduate Medical Education program. In 2016, the system became (CONTINUED ON PAGE 4)







Lee Isaac, PsyD, Especially Concerned for Senior Health During Pandemic

Seniors isolated by COVID-19 concerns should find other ways to connect than in-person contact BY BECKY GILLETTE

Mental health for seniors is a huge concern, especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic where 80 percent of the deaths have been in individuals over the age of 65. The pandemic has drastically uprooted many people’s ways of life, especially when it comes to in-person social interactions. “Often, during times of struggle, people turn to their social support, but that is hard given that in-person contact has been reduced,” said Lee Isaac, PsyD, a neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “The things I would recommend include finding other ways to connect. That includes phone calls, emails, text messages, and video calls. Technology is a huge barrier for individuals in this age group, but I recommend reaching out to people in their lives. Many of us have become very familiar with these new technologies, and family members may be able to help.” The risk factors for COVID-19 are generally cardiovascular risk factors, which also increase risk for dementia. Because of that, Isaac said he can’t over emphasize the importance of physical exercise, so long as it is not medically contraindicated. Something as simple as a daily 30-minute walk can strongly benefit someone’s mood while helping brain health. “This does not mean high intensity exercise,” he said. “It means taking your dog for an extended walk.” Exercise helps control cardiovascular risk – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes – as does remaining at a healthy weight and eating a nutritious, balanced diet. Sleep is less talked about, but is also important. Many individuals suffer from sleep apnea and may not know it. “If someone snores, then I suggest they follow-up with a sleep specialist to help determine if they have sleep apnea,” Isaac said. “Also, trying to limit other negative factors for health, like smoking or alcohol consumption, are important.” During the pandemic, it is particularly important to reach out for professional help. “This is an unprecedented time, and ARKANSASMEDICALNEWS


is not like anything we’ve experienced before,” Isaac said. “It is the norm, not the exception, to be struggling during this time, especially if there are other stressors, like the loss of a loved one. I’d strongly recommend that individuals get connected with mental health providers, both therapists and psychiatrists, to help them through this time.” Humans, by nature, are social creatures who need interaction with others to varying degrees. There are many inventive things that people can do through technology such as book clubs, playing bridge, and holding a virtual get-together. “The goal is to remain active,” Isaac said. “It is easy during the pandemic, especially if no longer working, to become inactive. Pick-up a new skill, or an old hobby that you haven’t done recently, such as crafting, working, painting, or anything that can keep you busy.” At present, the available therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have remained relatively unchanged for a number of years. Fortunately, more than ever, there is a continued push for finding treatments. “Last year, the National Institutes of Health increased their funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research by $350 million, which made the annual funding reach an all-time high of $2.8 billion,” Isaac said. “I only expect the funding and focus on this area to continue to grow as the demographic make-up of our country continues to age. Hopefully, that will result in better treatments going forward.” Now, more than ever, it is understood that processes that cause dementia have

likely been on-going for a number of years before major symptoms appear, and certainly before diagnosis. One of the big areas of research is early detection. “In particular, biomarkers have received a large emphasis in AD research,” Isaac said. “Biomarkers are objective markers of biologic function that can be accurately and reproducibly measured. Biomarkers have included an emphasis on CSF and imaging techniques, but there is increased use of functional imaging, blood biomarkers, and saliva.” Isaac said the ability to accurately detect AD earlier will allow physicians to make more targeted treatments and hopefully make a bigger impact on slowing, or completely stopping, the progression of the disease. “However, it is such a complex and multifactorial process and there is still much work to be done in the area,” he said. People starting to show signs of dementia should see their physician and, if the physician feels it is appropriate, consult with a neurologist and a neuropsychologist to be evaluated by a specialist who is more familiar with these disorders. Neuropsychologists like Isaac evaluate individuals’ cognitive functioning through an interview with the patient and their family, and then testing, which assesses cognitive functioning and, to a lesser extent, emotional functioning. The assessment will test their cognitive thinking skills and be able to objectively quantify any weaknesses or areas of concern. The neuropsychologist will make recommendations about the best way forward and what to expect in the future. Senior brain health is complex. To make that even more complicated, AD is often associated with decreased awareness of deficits. That means patients with AD often report less symptoms or completely deny symptoms. Family members can usually be helpful in providing an outside perspective. One thing that can also help is using a short cognitive screener like the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. However, not everyone is trained or feels comfortable giving the MoCA, “So, if there is any question, then I strongly recommend primary care providers refer patients for neuropsychological evaluation,” Isaac said. “Earlier detection means earlier treatment, and it helps to keep these individuals safe. Individuals

with dementia are at risk for difficulty managing their medical conditions, unsafe driving, and exploitation. The sooner we know, the sooner we can help families provide them the support that they need.” Isaac received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from La Salle University in Philadelphia, Penn., and completed his doctoral internship at UAMS. Prior to that, he completed a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Temple University. Isaac grew up in Lexington, Ky., and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky. His parents say he has had a natural affinity for wanting to serve others with compassion and empathy since he was a child. His interest truly came alive while in his master’s program. He was completing an internship in a hospice where he was working with patients and their families. He worked with one patient who had AD, but was exceptionally skilled in chess. “For over two years, I played chess with this gentleman,” Isaac said. “I would have to introduce myself every time I came. However, it took me six months to first beat him in chess, and he still regularly beat me at the end. So, the dichotomy between his ability to retain his knowledge of chess and play at a high level, and the clear cognitive deficits, were fascinating to me and really was the final tender to light my path toward neuropsychology.” Isaac’s hobbies include reading and exercise. He and his wife, Kate, are also avid hikers and have picked up more kayaking and canoeing since moving to Arkansas.

Keep your finger on the pulse of Arkansas’ healthcare industry. SUBSCRIBE TODAY to begin receiving Arkansas Medical News in print or on your tablet or smartphone ArkansasMedicalNews.com




Addressing a Chronic Killer, continued from page 1 to facilitate the ongoing discussion on ways to break down silos between chronic kidney disease, kidney failure and treatment protocols including transplantation. Last year, HCA led the nation in performing 418 live donor kidney transplants. Additionally, the health system was responsible for 652 deceased donor transplants, which is more than 7 percent of the kidneys recovered nationwide.  While there have been advances in care and expansion of organs deemed acceptable for transplantation, Perlin said clinicians and organizations across the country that work with patients with endstage renal disease (ESRD) know more can and should be done. “There are too many at-risk patients who progress to late-stage kidney failure; mortality rate is too high; treatment options are expensive, and the quality of life is simply too low,” he stated, adding there are not enough kidneys donated to meet the need.  “Kidney disease is a major, prominent, prevalent condition,” Perlin continued. “It’s the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.” He added 37 million Americans live with kidney disease and more than 726,000 progress to ESRD. Each year, more than 100,000 Americans begin dialysis with 20 percent dying within a year and 50 percent dying within five years. Currently, nearly 100,000 Americans are awaiting transplant. Unfortunately, on average, 13 people a day die before a kidney becomes available. 

Seema Verma

In introducing the new model of care, Verma said the focus across the federal government has been on finding ways to make healthcare more affordable and more accessible. However, she continued, the way government programs are structured can

Follow us on @arkmednews 4



sometimes create misaligned incentives. “In Medicare, in particular with our ESRD program, that’s exactly what we’ve seen,” Verma continued. “And so, we’ve been really focused over the last year – based on the president’s executive order – to try to specifically improve the lives of people with kidney disease.” As a result, CMS  announced finalization of the End-Stage Renal Disease Treatment Choices (ETC) Model on Sept. 18 to transform chronic kidney care for Medicare beneficiaries. Building off President Donald Trump’s Advancing Kidney Health Executive Order, the ETC model encourages increased use of home dialysis and kidney transplants.   Verma noted traveling to a hemodialysis center not only eats up a large portion of the day but also potentially exposes ESRD patients to other health threats, including COVID-19. Verma noted Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD who contract the coronavirus have higher rates of hospitalization. With home dialysis, patients are able to shelter in place during the public health crisis while still receiving the care they need.   “The model today is part of a larger effort to improve the health, in general, of people living with kidney disease,” Verma said. While the ETC program creates a new payment model, she said the agency has also been focused on improving organ procurement. “The idea is to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to increase the transplantation rate,” she said.  Brad Smith, who was tapped to lead the CMS Innovation Center at the beginning of 2020, drilled down on the ETC model. Smith noted the work was very personal for him, as he had a cousin who had been on dialysis for several years before passing away at the age of 28. “And so, this is an issue I’ve always been really interested in and really passionate about,” he noted.  Smith said CMS has been looking at the way kidney care is delivered in the United States and working to transform the model over several years. The focus, he added, has been on three big areas: inhome dialysis, transplant rate, and the impact of the pandemic on ESRD patients.  In thinking about how the U.S. compares to other countries, Smith pointed to in-home dialysis rates. He said the latest statistics show about 12 percent of patients in the U.S. get in-home dialysis. “But when you compare that across the world, that’s a pretty low rate – so in the U.K., it’s about 18 percent, and Canada is about 25 percent,” he said. Smith added that although only 12 percent nationally are doing dialysis at home, 85 percent of individuals are actually eligible for that treatment option.  “The second piece is when you look at our transplant rate,” Smith continued. “Of the 61 more developed countries, we’re actually 39th in terms of transplant rate. Only 2.9 percent of patients actually are able to receive a transplant before they

go on dialysis and only about 30 percent of those with ESRD actually have had a transplant, so we feel like there’s a tremendous opportunity to change how we deliver care in this country around end-stage renal disease.”  When it comes to COVID, Smith said, “Our ESRD patients are one of our highest risk groups across the entire country. If you get COVID and you have ESRD, you’re eight times more likely to pass away than the average American.”  To address these issues, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has been working on payment transformation over the past five years, staring in 2015 with the comprehensive End-Stage Renal Disease Model with 37 groups taking full capitated risk for their dialysis beneficiaries. “We’ve seen really good results in that model. Hospitalizations have come down; emergency dialysis treatments have gone down; readmissions have gone down,” he said. While the quality of care increased, Smith said CMS didn’t really see the anticipated savings from the program. “Part of the reason for that is really we were starting too late, and we were only starting with

Brad Smith

patients once they reached dialysis.”   New models being rolled out in 2021 focus on patients in stage 4 and 5 of chronic disease before they advance to ESRD. “That’s a time when we believe we can have the biggest impact,” he said.  A second lesson from the earlier model was the needle didn’t move on inhome dialysis or kidney transplant, which is why the new ETC model increases reimbursement for in-home dialysis claims. “In the first year, we’ll increase them by 3 percent, then 2 percent, then 1 percent in the third year,” Smith said.   “In addition, and probably even more importantly, we’re putting in place an incentive structure for nephrologists and for ESRD facilities around in-home dialysis and transplants,” he continued. Smith explained each year the percentage of patients for each practice or clinician will be calculated who either get in-home dialysis, are on the wait list for transplant or who receive living-donor transplant. “And then based on that, it will make an adjustment to their Medicare claims. In the first year that could be as much as +4 or -5, and in the last year, year five, that could be as much as +8 or -10,” he said. This demonstration model will roll out to about 30 percent of the country this coming January. The hope is to improve quality, give providers and centers more flexibility and save an estimated $23 million through the program.  However, Smith stressed the savings component isn’t the main driver. “The main goal of the model is to make sure that folks can have the choices that they want and hopefully that we can altogether increase … along with all the other rules that we’re reviewing and regulations we’re rolling out … increase the number of transplants that are happening across the country.” 

Bringing Care Home, continued from page 2 the first in Arkansas selected to join The Mayo Clinic Care Network - a unique collaboration between Mayo Clinic and independent healthcare organizations. The network connects Unity Health providers with Mayo Clinic specialists and clinical resources as well as access the latest Mayo Clinic knowledge and expertise. Today, Unity Health includes more than 20 locations serving patients in eight counties. The Searcy hospital is only 45 minutes from Little Rock’s busy medical community, but expanding providers and specialty services mean patients have fewer reasons to make the drive. “We’ve got great quality physicians and associates who I’d put up against any hospital in Little Rock,” Webb said. “It’s a competitive world but our team does it really well.” And while COVID-19 has forced a priority shift in recent months, Webb remains focused on continued growth. In 2019 the system added dozens of providers including specialists in rheumatology, neurosurgery, otolaryngology and hematology, and has begun expansion of the

Pyeatt Family Cancer Center in Searcy. Slated for completion mid-2021, the project will double the facility’s square footage to 15,500. “Being able to meet healthcare needs has been really important for us,” Webb said. “Traveling is inconvenient for many patients but it’s impossible for some. We want to know how we can take care of people here and provide them with the best treatments available.”

GME goals

Now home to the second largest GME program in the state, Unity Health also is striving to be a Top 100 teaching hospital, and has designed their strategic plan around the goal. “We want to become a place that’s recognized nationally for the quality of work we provide,” said Webb. “It’s really important for the state of Arkansas to have quality physicians, and we want to create more opportunities to train them locally and encourage them to stay, so we’re putting a lot energy into increasing our regional presence.” arkansasmedicalnews


GrandRounds Baptist Health First in U.S. to Use New Medical Device Designed by Arkansas Cardiologist LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Baptist Health recently partnered with Arkansas-based medical device startup Vascugenix to introduce new technology to the U.S. that was developed by Baptist Health cardiologist Dr. Dwight Chrisman. The Speed Torque is specially designed to improve the process of guidewire manipulation in cardiovascular procedures. The patented design allows physicians to easily manipulate a guidewire with one hand, unlike traditional guidewire torque devices that require two hands to advance and reposition. The Speed Torque was first used by Dr. Chrisman on Oct. 3 at Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock during a coronary artery intervention. Coronary artery intervention is a procedure to correct a blockage of an artery of the heart to help a patient. A small wire is advanced passed the blocked segment of the artery in order to be able to advance and place a stent or balloon to correct the blockage. The Speed Torque device enables the physician to more efficiently place the wire in the correct position to place the balloon or stent. For more information about the Speed Torque, ask your cardiologist or visit our website at baptist-health.com.

Dr. Jeff Alliston has joined Mercy Clinic Urology – Pinnacle Hills. Dr. Alliston earned a Doctor of Medicine from University of Texas at Houston Medical School. Jeff Alliston He completed a residency in urology at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Mercy Clinic Urology – Pinnacle Hills is located at 3333 Pinnacle Hills

Parkway, Suite 300A, in Rogers. Dr. Raj Nangunoori has joined Mercy Clinic Neurosurgery – Physicians Plaza. Dr. Nangunoori earned a Doctor of Medicine from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He completed a fellowship in functional neurosurgery and a residency in neuroRaj Nangunoori surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and a fellowship in minimally

invasive and complex spine surgery and 3D navigation at Weill-Cornell Brain and Spine Center in New York. Dr. Nangunoori is a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and serves on the association’s Information Technology Committee. Mercy Clinic Neurosurgery is located at 2708 S. Rife Medical Lane, Suite 140, in Rogers.

Arkansas Surgical Hospital Opens Two Specialty Clinics in Central Arkansas NORTH LITTLE ROCK - In an effort to continue to meet the healthcare needs of Arkansas residents, physician owned Arkansas Surgical Hospital has opened two Arkansas Surgical Hospital Specialty Clinic locations in Russellville and Hot Springs Village. The specialty clinics are designed to provide patients with access to specialists in convenient locations within their communities. Specialists from Bowen Hefley Orthopedics, Little Rock Neurosurgery and Martin Orthopedics will see patients at the Russellville clinic. Neurological Surgery Associates, Martin Orthopedics and Bowen Hefley Orthopedics will see patients at the Hot Springs Village clinic. Staff are in the clinics on a rotating basis, saving time and eliminating the cost of travel that may have prevented patients from receiving care previously. The Russellville clinic is located at 3127 West 2nd Court and the Hot Springs Village clinic is located at 122 Cordoba Center Drive.

Specialists Join Mercy Clinic in Northwest Arkansas

Plastic surgeon Dr. James Wade trusted LAMMICO to provide his medical malpractice insurance for nearly 20 years.


EXPECTATIONS “LAMMICO has been great to me. I came to them for medical malpractice insurance in 2002 and never looked back. I chose LAMMICO because of their personalized service of high quality, and because they’re policyholder-owned. They utilize talented attorneys in defense of claims. I appreciated the annual dividend and their emphasis on risk reduction. LAMMICO gave me peace of mind. I always felt that they had my back. You cannot put a price on peace of mind.� – James Wade, M.D., plastic surgeon

Building Enduring Partnerships cSHTTPJVJVT(45

ROGERS – Two new specialists recently joined Mercy Clinic in Northwest Arkansas.






GrandRounds Hawkins Elected to ArkAMSS Board HARRISON - North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) is pleased to announce that Christy Hawkins, CPCS, Medical Staff Coordinator at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, has been elected to serve on the Arkansas Association for Medical Christy Hawkins Staff Services (ArkAMSS) Board of Directors as President Elect. Christy will serve as President Elect for the 2021-2022 term and by automatic succession will serve as President for ArkAMSS for the 2023-2024 term.  ArkAMSS is an affiliate of the Arkansas Hospital Association.  Hawkins has served as the Northwest District Representative on the Board for the last two consecutive terms 2016-2020.  Christy is a member of ArkAMSS, the National Association of Medical Staff Services (NAMSS), and a member of the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA).

Melissa Kizilos, MD, named Corporate Medical Director for National Accounts at Arkansas Blue Cross LITTLE ROCK – Melissa Kizilos, MD, CPXP* has joined Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield as corporate medical director for BlueAdvantage National Accounts. In this role, she will serve as a clinical resource and adviser to clients whose health Melissa Kizilos plans cover members throughout the United States. Most recently, she served as medi-

cal director, Care Management and HCCU (Highly Complex Case Unit) at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Kizilos earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Arkansas Urology Announces New Prostate Cancer Coordinator LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Urology, the largest urology practice in the state, is excited to announce a new Advanced Practice Nurse / Prostate Cancer Coordinator has joined their team. Sherry Denton, of Denver, Colorado joins Arkansas Urology after having spent most of her career in healthcare management. For the past 20 years, Denton has been educating patients around the United States and most recently, helping clinics in Georgia and Sherry Denton Colorado expand their urological care and prostate cancer treatment options for patients. Prior to joining the Arkansas Urology team, Denton served as the Manager of the Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Clinic and Dispensing Pharmacy at Urology Associates Colorado. From 2015 to 2019, she was a Nurse Practitioner at Georgia Urology focusing on advanced prostate cancer.

Dr. Allison Moss Johnson Completes Fellowship in Integrative Medicine FAYETTEVILLE Allison Moss Johnson, MD, FACP a local clinician at

Washington Regional Internal Medicine Associates has graduated from the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, Allison Moss at the University of AriJohnson zona College of Medicine—Tucson. Johnson is board certified in Internal Medicine and specializes in outpatient primary care. She has served in the Washington Regional system for 8 years and NWA for the last 11 years. Johnson joins an elite group of practitioners to have initiated studies with this internationally recognized integrative medicine program. Launched in 1997 by integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD, the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine is a 1,000-hour, two-year distance-learning program for physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Dr. Joseph Beck Receives Award for Lifetime of Outstanding Contributions to Medicine LITTLE ROCK – CHI St. Vincent physician Dr. Joseph Beck, II, M.D. has been honored with the Pulaski County Medical Society’s 2020 President’s Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Contributions to Medicine. Dr. Beck, a medical oncologist with the CHI St. Vin- Joseph Beck, II cent Oncology Clinic in Little Rock, has served as a physician on the CHI St. Vincent Infirmary’s medical staff for 33 years. He has also been an active member of the Arkansas Medical Board, including service as the

River Valley Medical Wellness Clinic Collaborates with ARVAC / Freedom House to Serve Patients with Addiction RUSSELLVILLE – River Valley Medical Wellness clinic (RVMW) and ARVAC / Freedom House Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center are excited to announce a new collaboration that will expand health care access and addiction services for residents of Arkansas. This outpatient clinic provides medication assisted treatment (MAT) and counseling for patients suffering from opioid, stimulant, alcohol and other substance use disorders. They offer both in-person and telemedicine options for patients seeking recovery from addiction. Currently, the MAT clinic is based in Russellville on the grounds of Freedom House Rehabilitation Center, but with the advent of telemedicine and COVID-19 changes to care, has begun providing telemedicine services across the state of Arkansas. While other clinics providing MAT services are typically on a “cash basis”, RVMW and Freedom House accept insurances, including Medicaid. This collaboration between the groups is an effort to meet the patient where they are in the recovery process and provide responsive and comprehensive care. River Valley Medical Wellness has three current medical providers: Dr Kristin Martin, DO, FAAFP, Jamie Zimmerman, APRN and Lindsey Sharp, APRN, who have each been working in addiction medicine for the past several years in conjunction with Freedom House. For those patients who require more intensive services, Freedom House also offers residential treatment and sober living opportunities. For those who have patients who need referral or wish to know more information, visit www.rmwellness.com




group’s chair and president. A Little Rock native, Dr. Beck has a long history of private practice in our community. He joined CHI St. Vincent’s Oncology Clinic in 2019 as part of the medical group’s growing commitment to provide the best cancer care in Arkansas. The Pulaski County Medical Society promotes the highest standards of medical care and works to protect the public health of the community. The Pulaski County Medical Society will formally present the 2020 President’s Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Contributions to Dr. Beck during the organization’s virtual annual meeting on Dec. 3. Dr. Beck earned his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and completed his fellowship in medical oncology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He continues to see patients at his clinic in the Doctors Building, 500 South University Ave.

PUBLISHER Pamela Z. Haskins pamela@arkansasmedicalnews.com EDITOR P L Jeter editor@arkansasmedicalnews.com ADVERTISING SALES 501.247.9189 pamela@arkansasmedicalnews.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Susan Graham sgraham@nashvillemedicalnews.com GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Susan Graham, Katy Barrett-Alley CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Becky Gillette, Melanie KilgoreHill,Cindy Sanders All editorial submissions and press releases should be sent to pamela@memphismedicalnews.com Subscription requests can be mailed to the address below or emailed to pamela@memphismedicalnews.com. Arkansas Medical News is now privately owned by Ziggy Productions, LLC. P O Box 164831 Little Rock, AR 72206 President: Pamela Z. Haskins Vice President: Patrick Rains Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Arkansas Medical News will assume no responsibility for unsolicited materials. All letters sent to Arkansas Medical News will be considered the newspaper’s property and unconditionally assigned to Arkansas Medical News for publication and copyright purposes.

Dr Kristin Martin, and APRNs Jamie Zimmerman, and Lindsey Sharp




GrandRounds Arkansas Children’s Names Rick Barr, MD, Executive Vice President, Chief Clinical & Academic Officer LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Children’s has named Frederick (Rick) E. Barr, MD, MBA to the position of executive vice president and chief clinical and academic officer for the state’s only pediatric health system. He joins the Arkansas Children’s leaderRick E. Barr ship team in a new executive role created to elevate physician leadership and bridge operational, clinical and academic pursuits across the system and state. Since October 2017, Barr has served as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and associate dean for child health in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine, as well as pediatrician in chief for Arkansas Children’s and interim president of the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute. He also will hold the Jonathan R. Bates, MD Endowed Chair for Improving Child Health through Arkansas Children’s and will remain an adjunct professor in the UAMS College of Medicine. Barr received his undergraduate degree in animal and veterinary science at West Virginia University in 1984 and his medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1988. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt, continuing his training with a clinical fellowship in pediatric critical care at the University of California San Francisco, where he was also a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Research Institute. While on the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2002 he received a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2018.

Arkansas Urology Announces New Chief Operating Officer LITTLE ROCK – Jonathan Rushing of Little Rock has joined Arkansas Urology, the state’s largest private urology practice, as Chief Operating Officer. Rushing joins Arkansas Urology after having spent most of his career in healthcare Jonathan management. For the Rushing last 14 years he has been at Baptist Health in leadership roles which include managing clinical trials, serving as a Regional and Associate Vice President for Clinic Operations and most recently serving as a member of the Western Region Leadership Team. Prior to working at Baptist Health, Rushing served in various capacities for Easter Seals, Inc. in Texarkana, Texas, which included serving as the nonprofit organization’s Executive Director. A native of Crossett, Arkansas, Jonaarkansasmedicalnews


than has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas and will complete his MBA at Southern Arkansas University in the fall of 2020. His community involvement includes serving as the Vice Chairman for Junior Achievement, as well as being actively involved in Parkway Place Baptist Church.

Arkansas Children’s Names ACNW Chief Administrator SPRINGDALE – Arkansas Children’s has selected Shannon Hendrix, MS, RD, LD as the next chief administrator of Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the region’s only children’s hospital. A longtime pediatric healthcare leader with experience uniting multidisciplinary teams, Hendrix brings to the position a deep understanding of the special considerations required to run a children’s hospital, as well as extensive knowledge of overall child health in Arkansas. Hendrix will begin her role at ACNW on Dec. 14, 2020. Her promotion to lead the full-service hospital, which served more than 31,000 unique patients last fiscal year, is part of a thorough succession planning effort by Arkansas Children’s leaders to ensure ACNW grows and evolves to match the diverse needs of the Northwest Arkansas community. Hendrix’s experience at Arkansas Children’s has included leadership responsibilities with teams ranging from clinical operations, such as Radiology and Laboratory, to the social support services at the heart of delivering family-centered care, including Social Work and Pastoral Care. She has most recently served as vice president of clinical and diagnostic services for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Hendrix steps into her ACNW role after leading large divisions comprised of several hundred Arkansas Children’s team members since she joined the health system in 2013. She has most recently served as vice president of clinical and diagnostic services for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. A registered dietitian, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nutrition from the University of Central Arkansas. She sits on community boards and is active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Hendrix is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

$500,000 Gift to Support Creation of New Regional Campus in El Dorado

LITTLE ROCK/EL DORADO — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a $500,000 gift to support the creation of a new regional campus in El Dorado. The gift will have a far-reaching impact, not only for El Dorado, but for patients in South Arkansas and across the state. The donor asked to remain anonymous. This gift establishes the Dr. David M. Yocum III El Dorado Regional Program

Fund for Excellence, dedicated to building a regional campus in El Dorado. Yocum, one of the first thoracic surgeons in Arkansas and an El Dorado native, died in 2012. He was a 1946 graduate of the UAMS College of Medicine. Yocum was an assistant clinical professor of surgery at UAMS, was on the teaching staff of what is now the UAMS South Regional Campus and served as a foundation board member for the College of Medicine. Beginning in 1951, he practiced general and thoracic surgery in El Dorado for several decades. UAMS has committed to building its ninth regional campus in El Dorado. The majority of family practice physicians in rural areas of the state are trained at one of UAMS’ eight regional campuses. Creating a regional campus will provide an influx of physicians and health care professionals to create a sustainable educational and training pipeline, and make it easier to maintain consistent levels of care.

Fellowship-trained Gynecologic Oncologist Heather Williams, MD, Joins UAMS LITTLE ROCK — Gynecologic oncologist Heather Williams, MD, has joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and sees patients in the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. She is an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Heather Williams Her medical specialties include the treatment of women with gynecologic cancer including surgery and chemotherapy for ovarian, uter-

ine, cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers. After earning her medical degree from the UAMS College of Medicine, Williams completed her internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. As a third-year resident, the El Dorado native was chosen to participate in the Felix Rutledge Fellowship Program in Gynecologic Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a one-month rotation that provides residents intensive experience in the field. Following her residency, Williams completed a three-year fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Call for Abstracts: ANPA 6th Annual Spring Conference HOT SPRINGS - We enthusiastically invite you to share your expertise and knowledge with fellow nurse practitioners during the sixth annual Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association Conference, April 23 and 24, at the Convention Center in Hot Springs. This year, we hope to offer 30, 60, and 90-minute concurrent podium sessions, workshops, and a poster session. Categories for presentation at this conference include: primary care, acute care, pediatric, women’s health, mental health, and practice issues. Final selection will be based on the quality and clarity of the proposal and relevance to the contemporary nurse practitioner environment. Abstracts must be received electronically by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6, 2021. For details visit, https://anpassociation.enpnetwork.com/nurse-practitioner-news/211465-call-for-abstracts-anpa-6th-annual-spring-conference

Medical Center of South Arkansas Receives Governor’s Quality Award EL DORADO - Medical Center of South Arkansas was one of fourteen organizations from across the state to be recognized with an Arkansas Governor’s Quality Award during the recent 26th Annual Awards Celebration in Little Rock. Medical Center of South Arkansas received a Challenge Award which is the preliminary point for any organization on the Governor’s Quality Award journey. Challenge Award recipients have completed the first of four award levels and are moving toward the fourth and highest level in the state—the GoverAsa Hutchinson, Arkansas Governor; Elaine Butler, MCSA Director of Quality nor’s Quality Award for Performance Excellence. The awards were presented by Governor Asa Hutchinson at a small luncheon where attendance was limited to comply with social distancing protocols. Elaine Butler, MCSA Director of Quality received the award on behalf of Medical Center of South Arkansas. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020



Foresight in 2020. We believe that your malpractice insurance team should be ready and available when you need them most. SVMIC is built on this kind of reliable and dedicated relationship, so you can focus on your practice and we can focus on protecting it.

Move forward with us at







Profile for Medical News

November-Decemeber 2020 Arkansas Medical News  

your primary source for primary healthcare news

November-Decemeber 2020 Arkansas Medical News  

your primary source for primary healthcare news