Arkansas Health

bentonproud.com

Governor Asa Hutchinson has named a new state drug czar. On Wednesday Hutchinson announced that Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane would assume the role of State Drug Director. Lane succeeds Denny Altes who resigned in May.

In a press release, Hutchinson says Lane’s background with the FBI and law enforcement “equipped him well to serve in the role.”

This edition of KUAR's Week In Review podcast tackles the winding down of the legislative session. Lawmakers retread the concealed carry debate and carve out an exception for athletic events, UAMS, and the state hospital despite NRA opposition. The online sales tax finally gets past a committee hurdle and the bathroom bill gets pushed aside for another time as does highway funding.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Legislation is advancing to expand the scope of telemedicine in Arkansas.

Republican State Sen. Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers is the lead sponsor of the telemedicine bill, SB146, which advanced out of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee on Wednesday. Bledsoe explained that under her legislation, telemedicine could be legally practiced beyond official clinical settings, to anywhere a patient is located.

The president of the University of Arkansas System, Donald Bobbitt, says he is working with schools to gather information on the effect of President Trump's order on immigration.

The Arkansas House advanced a restriction on food stamps, or SNAP, that would ban the purchase of junk food.

If approved by the federal government, the measure would make Arkansas the first state to ban the purchase of junk food with food stamps. 

In what was an unusually close vote for the chamber, 55-39, state Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville pushed through her bill.

State Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville) presenting her bill to limit the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Jacob Kauffman

The first step toward restricting the use of food stamps in Arkansas has been taken by the state legislature. The House Public Health Committee voted 12-6 on Tuesday to back a bill intended to ban the purchase of junk food under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Republican State Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville said lowering the state’s high obesity rate is her driving reason for sponsoring a measure to ban items like soda and chips.

Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas officials say the number of mumps cases in the northwest part of the state appears to be leveling off.

The Arkansas Department of Health says there were 2,400 confirmed or strongly suspected cases as of Jan. 5. State epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow says there are about 10 new cases of mumps per day. According to Haselow, health officials were seeing 40 or 50 new cases a day at the height of the outbreak.

Mumps symptoms can include fever, aches and swollen salivary glands.

Butterball Huntsville
Gabriel Thompson / Slate Magazine

The months leading up to Thanksgiving Day are a busy time for poultry companies that process turkeys. A new report by Slate Magazine says it also adds to an already disturbing amount of pressure for those who work in turkey plants, including one in northwest Arkansas.

telemedicine
www.rochester.edu

Students in four Arkansas school districts could help shape the future of medicine in the state.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Department of Education are partnering to pilot a telemedicine program in Jasper, Lee County, Malvern, and Magazine School Districts. The four districts were chosen partly because they have existing school-based health centers.

Tina Benton with the UAMS Center for Distance Health says the program is designed to reach students in rural parts of the state.

The University of Central Arkansas says there are four possible cases of mumps at the school.     

Dr. Randy Pastor, UCA's Student Health Center medical director, tells the Log Cabin Democrat that three students went into the medical center with swelling on the side of their faces on Friday.   

Pastor says there was an additional case Monday, but none of the cases have been confirmed as mumps. According to Pastor, all four students live off campus but none of the cases are related. 

Pages