The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences received a grant of $4.6 million to boost its program to encourage primary care physicians to practice in rural areas.
UAMS, the state’s main medical school, has eight regional campuses around the state. They will partner with the UAMS College of Medicine and its Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.
The state Health Department considers 50 of the 75 counties in Arkansas as meeting the definition of an under-served area, due to the lack of health professionals available to serve the population. More than 500,000 people, or a sixth of the states’ total population, live in those areas.
Legislators working on health care recently heard a presentation from officials at UAMS and the Arkansas Hospital Association. There are 23 counties in Arkansas that do not have a local hospital and there are 39 counties with only one hospital.
Of the 105 hospitals in Arkansas, 17 are at the highest level of financial risk. The number used to be 18 until the hospital in De Queen, which was on the list, closed.
Twenty-five counties and cities levy a tax to support their local hospital.