Arkansas Healthcare

Governor Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / You Tube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday put the weight of his office behind Congress’ latest attempt to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, saying the Graham-Cassidy bill now circulating in the U.S. Senate was the “best and last opportunity” to replace the Affordable Care Act passed by former President Barack Obama.

Hospital pharmacist Mandy Langston remembers when Lulabelle Berry arrived at the emergency center of Stone County Medical Center in Mountain View, Ark., last year.

Berry couldn't talk. Her face was drooping on one side. Her eyes couldn't focus.

"She was basically unresponsive," Langston recalls.

About one in four first responders suffers from moderate to major depression, according to an ongoing University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences study that seeks to examine the effects of job stress on firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

Married to a firefighter herself, Sara Jones, a psychiatric nurse practioner and assistant professor in the College of Nursing at UAMS, said much research has gone into the causes and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and law enforcement officers but not much is known about the effects of trauma on firefighters and EMT’s.

Inside Dr. Tammy Post's medical clinic lobby on Willow Springs Road in Johnson, a silvery wall fountain trickles; beyond the water feature is a spacious suite of examination rooms. Post, a board certified family and osteopathic medical practitioner says she’s interested in alternative medicine but never imagined she would become an advocate for medical marijuana.

“I was one of those doctors that thought marijuana was all the myths we believed about a gateway drug,” she says. “I believed it to be illicit and dangerous, like ecstasy and heroin and cocaine.”

Over the past two months, Post has certified more than a hundred patients for Arkansas Department of Health medical marijuana registry identification cards. That's roughly one of every eight approved statewide so far.  

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Dozens of parents and children rallied against proposed cuts to the federal budget in Little Rock Wednesday, saying they would severely impact Medicaid services in Arkansas. Arkansas Community Organizations hosted the “Children for Healthcare” Day of Action across from Stephens Elementary School, where kids wrote symbolic postcards addressed to U.S. Rep. French Hill.

Gwendolynn Millen Combs teaches at Stephens Elementary. She’s also an Air Force veteran, and a Democratic hopeful for Hill’s seat in the House.

The latest numbers from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show Arkansas had the second-highest opioid prescribing rate in the nation in 2016, after Alabama. There are enough painkiller prescriptions being filled for every Arkansan to have a bottle.

The rates reflect the number of initial and refill prescriptions dispensed per 100 people at retail (non-hospital) pharmacies, which represent 88% of prescriptions in the United States. For Arkansas, the rate is 114.6.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator John Boozman is recovering from a successful follow-up procedure to a 2014 heart surgery. Boozman's office says he'll be back to work when the Senate reconvenes in September.

The 66-year-old underwent the procedure at a Washington D.C. area hospital on Tuesday. Boozman staff say it was "recommended by doctors who have been monitoring his aorta since a tear in it was surgically repaired in 2014."

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator John Boozman, R-Ark., has scheduled a follow-up surgical procedure next Tuesday (Aug. 15) that’s related to an emergency heart surgery he underwent a little more than three years ago.

Boozman, Arkansas’ senior senator, had surgery April 22, 2014, to fix an aortic dissection. The procedure was performed at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. The medical staff at the time said the surgery went as planned.

CDC, National Vital Statistics System

The politics of public health will be at play as Arkansas moves forward with studying pregnancy-related deaths.

Arkansas has the third-highest rate of women who die during pregnancy or delivery, according to the United Health Foundation. This has prompted a study into the matter.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Karen Tricot Steward / KUAR News

After being called to the White House earlier this week to discuss healthcare, Governor Asa Hutchinson says the Trump administration appears to be reaching out in a broader way for input on the future of the nation's healthcare system.

"There's going to be a slower and more thoughtful process coming up. What we saw in the Senate last week was a bill that did not go through the committee process and did not have hearings. It was limited and it failed to pass. And so now I hope that you will see... broad coalitions come together," Hutchinson tells KUAR News.

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