Arkansas Health

UAMS Opens A New Sickle Cell Anemia Clinic

Jan 21, 2014

A new clinic for adults with sickle cell anemia is opening at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 

The program will offer a 24/7 call center as well as provide yearly flu shots and things not always available in more rural areas.

Physician with the program, Dr. Robin Devan, says approximately 1,300 children and adults suffer from sickle cell in Arkansas, but treatment isn’t consistent.

An screenshot from near its launch.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services says a significant number of younger adults are enrolling in the state’s private option. It allows people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,850 for an individual) to receive subsidized private health coverage using federal money devoted to Medicaid. Andy Allison, state Medicaid director, says its no surprise younger people are qualifying for the private option, since they tend to earn less.

A Republican takeover of a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat dims the prospects for continuing the state's compromise Medicaid expansion plan and could be a troubling early sign for Democrats who had hoped to rebound from recent losses at the polls.

Republican John Cooper's win in the special election Tuesday for the seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Paul Bookout over ethics violations gives Republicans a 22-13 majority in the Senate and takes away a key vote for the "private option" Medicaid expansion lawmakers approved last year.

Republican John Cooper has won a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat, giving Republicans an extra seat in the Legislature in a race that was viewed as an early bellwether for this year's general election.

Cooper defeated Democratic nominee Steve Rockwell and replaces Democratic state Sen. Paul Bookout.

Bookout resigned last year after he was fined by the Ethics Commission for spending thousands in campaign funds on personal items such as clothing and theater equipment.

Complete but unofficial reports showed Cooper winning 57 percent of the vote.

The outcome of a special election Tuesday for a northeast Arkansas Senate seat could be a factor in the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid expansion.

The race will determine whether Democrat Steve Rockwell or Republican John Cooper will serve the remainder of former state Senator Paul Bookout’s term. Bookout, a Democrat, vacated the post due to ethics violations.

Political analyst Jay Barth from Hendrix College says Bookout voted for the "private option" plan to expand Medicaid, a plan that will be under review by lawmakers during next month's fiscal session.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday show the rate of lung cancer is in decline around the nation. The same is true in Arkansas. After a steady increase for a number of years, the state has seen a sharp decline in lung cancer from around 84 cases per 100,000 people in 2007 to 70 cases per 100,000, according to Dr. Gary Wheeler of the Arkansas Department of Health. Though he says the state struggled for many years to prevent a rise in lung cancer.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Cases of Influenza are widespread this year in Arkansas. Health officials say the virus has been spreading rapidly throughout the southeast.

Kerry Krell of the Arkansas Department of Health says the most prevalent strain this year is H1N1, which is known to affect young, healthy people more often than other strains. She says this season’s flu outbreak has shown a pattern of severity that should lead people to take precautions as it has already led to some fatalities in the state.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

For the past decade, Arkansas health officials have taken significant steps to curb obesity in the state. But Arkansas still ranks third nationally in the percentage of obese adults, at nearly 35 percent of its total population last year. On Thursday and Friday, more than 60 public health experts and officials from around the state will convene at Petit Jean Mountain for a summit to assess ideas for dealing with the epidemic over the next ten years.  KUAR’s Chris Hickey spoke with two officials about previous policy efforts and what Arkansas can do about obesity in the future.

UAMS campus / UAMS

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences says it has received a $1 million gift for a new breast cancer center.

UAMS said Wednesday that a member of its Cancer Institute Auxiliary, Stuart Cobb, was donating the money to support construction and services. 

The breast cancer center will be on the third floor of the Cancer Institute when completed.

Chancellor Dan Rahn said the gift will give Arkansans access to an advanced facility for mammography and other outpatient services.

On Dec. 7, a group of surgeons will perform a marathon day of surgery at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, replacing hips and knees for more than two dozen patients who have no insurance and can't afford the procedures.

Everything and everyone involved in the process - from the surgeons and nurses to the artificial joints - comes free of cost to the patients, many of whom have been suffering from debilitating pain for decades.