A $39.4 million increase in Arkansas’s revenue forecast for the last two months of the fiscal year means the state can fund second-tier annual budget priorities and provide some money for Medicaid.
However, analysts note the positive trend in revenue collections will do little to close a looming $400 million Medicaid shortfall in two years, a deficit of great concern to many organizations that provide health services.
As Arkansas officials prepare for a Medicaid shortfall of close to $400 million in 2014, many organizations that rely on those funds are battling budgetary constraints to continue providing necessary services that meet the needs of their patients.
On a rainy afternoon in a rural corner of West Little Rock, 20-year old Michelle Blaney from Bryant returns to the campus of Youth Home, the oldest and largest psychiatric treatment facility for adolescents in Arkansas.
Next month, a Little Rock doctor will complete a yearlong project to help women in Belize get necessary medical care. Dr. Gary Wheeler with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has been working with the Belize Family Life Association and its network of clinics on an educational video that encourages Belizean women to get annual checkups to prevent cervical cancer.
A state-of-the-art facility at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will give nursing, pharmacy, and medical students’ hands-on training with computerized life-like manikins. The new Simulation Center also has trauma bays, hospital bedrooms, and special treatment rooms that can be converted into a public place, like a cafeteria, so students hone their skills. Michael Manley runs the center.