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InCharge HEALTHCARE 2019 Patterson said there is no doubt that recruitment, but also in retention telemedicine programs have improved of physicians. Washington Regional healthcare for people in Arkansas. is continuing to develop programs “A great example is AR Saves, a and service lines to allow more telestroke program,” Patterson said. patients to receive quality care close “Since initiation of that program, to home. Recently we have focused outcomes for people with stroke on interventional neuroradiology in Arkansas have improved every and stroke neurology, and opened a year. Maternal\fetal healthcare new 20 bed Neuro ICU. In addition, throughout the state benefits through we have introduced new cardiac the ANGELS (antenatal-neonatal programs to include vascular services guidelines, education and learning and valve repair/replacement.” system) program and we have Another effort to improve recently doubled down on digital healthcare delivery includes health efforts by creating the Institute partnerships with larger healthcare for Digital Health and Telemedicine providers. One factor that has & Innovation under leadership of benefitted Conway Regional is a Curtis Lowery, MD, who is national management agreement with CHI recognized expert in the area.” St. Vincent. Troup said this has been Troup said AR Saves has really fantastic for Conway Regional. helped their physicians better manage “CHI St. Vincent has allowed decisions on acute strokes. He Conway Regional access to services advocates expanding telemedicine. we wouldn’t otherwise have,” Troup “Telemedicine is something we said. “For example, a couple of years have talked about a long time, but ago our physician staffing was in hasn’t caught on,” Troup said. “I think disarray in the ER. St. Vincent was a we are on the cusp of that changing as great partner to come in and help us the millennial population starts using manage through that transition. They healthcare. They may not need to see have been able to help us in other a doctor, but might access someone areas, too. We can tap into St. Vincent on the phone or computer. The future where we need to, but still have a lot for telemedicine is bright. The payment systems need to keep pace. We need to expand primary care medicine payments for telemedicine. There are models out there whereby you can access your physician over a computer. That is new ground where the state can help support innovation and access.” The state must also improve access to physicians, including specialists. “The reality is the ratio of physicians and advanced providers compared to the population is significantly lagging,” Shackleford said. “Primary care shortages are seen in internal medicine and geriatrics, as well as specialties such as cardiology, neurology, and GI. We are continually recruiting and are Dr. Cam Patterson especially successful in not only


of local autonomy.” An issue not affecting the financial health of healthcare providers is timely reimbursement from payers. “We are not seeing an issue with timely reimbursement from any of the payers,” Stone said. “Our denials are low, due to providing the proper documentation requested by the payers. The relationship with the payers could always improve, which could be accomplished by a reduction in administrative burden on the providers and reimbursement transparency through the disclosure of what the insurance companies are receiving in administrative fees. This should be broken down so it is clear for the consumer to see what they are paying the providers and what they are paying the insurance companies.” Another way to bend the healthcare curve in Arkansas would be better cancer treatments. CARTI’s Head said cancer comes in many forms and it is a formidable enemy because of the way it adapts. “In the past 40 years, cancer treatment methods have dramatically improved, now providing positive outcomes for diagnoses that previously felt like a death sentence to patients,” Head said. “Though Arkansas has a high rate of new cancer occurrences, what is more concerning and convicting to us is that our death rate from cancer is even worse compared to other states. We believe we can make an impact through access to first-class cancer care in the communities where our patients live. We know that the faster patients can be seen for a cancer diagnosis, the faster our experts and technology can start them on the right course of treatment. For us to change our state’s trajectory, we know a cancer care environment has to be non-intimidating, close to home and trusted as the expert. It’s a vision we do not take lightly.”

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Arkansas Medical News InCharge 2019  

Arkansas Medical News InCharge 2019