The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health will open a medical oncology and infusion clinic on the campus of Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock and a medical oncology, infusion and radiation therapy clinic on the campus of Baptist Health Medical Center in Fort Smith establish .
As part of the pursuit of the Little Rock project, UAMS and Baptist Health will form a limited liability company called BH-UAMS Oncology Services Little Rock, LLC. Each party will own 50% of the LLC.
UAMS will make a capital contribution of approximately $1,338,129, according to a written presentation from University of Arkansas System president Donald Bobbitt.
Through service contracts with the “LLC, UAMS will provide management, IT consulting and physician services, all of which will be compensated based on an independent third-party fair market valuation,” according to the written submission submitted to the board of trustees of the University of Arkansas. The board met Tuesday and Wednesday at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
It “seems like one of the wisest moves we’ve made in a long time,” trustee Sheffield Nelson said. “I think it would be a very smart investment.”
During the initial phase of their affiliation, Baptist Health and UAMS formed BH-UAMS Oncology Services, LLC to own and operate a radiation therapy clinic on the campus of Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock.
UAMS also opened a medical oncology and infusion clinic on the same campus so UAMS and Baptist Health can provide “comprehensive oncology care” for the North Little Rock community, according to the presentation.
The affiliation aims to maximize quality treatment options for Arkansas residents and citizens so they can remain eligible for oncology care, enhance the recruitment of experienced oncology providers to the state, and support UAMS efforts to achieve National Cancer Institute designation – which will provide UAMS with the opportunity to receive additional federal and private grants for cancer research.
“I want to compliment UAMS for collaborating with other health care providers, [because] it’s smart, and I couldn’t endorse it more,” said board chairman CC “Cliff” Gibson III. “We help them, and they help us.”
It is “our duty to look for opportunities to work together,” said Dr. UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson said. “We are open for business.”
On Wednesday, the UA board approved the establishment and investment in the new limited liability company.
On Tuesday, UAMS officials updated trustees on its digital health initiative.
The UAMS Institute for Digital Health and Innovation is unmatched in terms of achieving and improving health outcomes for rural people, compared to remote health initiatives in any other state, “and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement,” Patterson told the plate.
Digital health provides access to health care, so fewer people use emergency rooms as “primary care,” Patterson said. Having individuals use the ER for primary care, rather than reserving it for those truly in need of emergency care, is “less than ideal” for patients and providers.
Among the goals of the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation is eliminating health disparities in the state, especially for rural Arkansans, said Dr. Joseph Sanford, director of the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation, said.
Founded in early 2019, the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation connects all but a few hospitals and clinics across the state with telemedicine, continuing medical and health education, public health education and evaluation research through interactive video.
The Institute for Digital Health & Innovation’s Arkansas Stroke Program, which works with approximately 50 partnerships across the state to provide 24/7 consultation coverage and support for Arkansans experiencing strokes — including receiving life-saving medications that mitigate the impact of a stroke — — helped move the state from last in the U.S. for stroke outcomes to 37th, said Sanford, also associate vice chancellor, chief clinical informatics officer and an associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology and Department of Biomedical Informatics.
The Institute for Digital Health and Innovation is also home to the High-Risk Pregnancy Program, a support network for high-risk obstetric patients and providers in Arkansas that partners with the Arkansas Department of Human Services and is supported by the Arkansas Medical Society.
“When I hear about all these advances, I’m sure all of us in Arkansas can look forward to a better state of health,” said Col. Nate Todd, a member of the board of trustees. “I thank UAMS for its leadership in this area.”
Gibson was similarly impressed.
“It’s wonderful and amazing,” he said. “Wow.”
Patterson also updated trustees on various building projects.
A new $54 million electric power plant on the east side of the Little Rock campus is 99% complete and began producing energy this year, he said. “Energy isn’t ‘sexy,’ but it’s important in many ways, and we’ve already achieved $7.5 million in energy savings.”
The energy plan is key to UAMS reaching its goal of being “carbon neutral” in 2030, Patterson said.
A 20,000-square-foot child development center — which will be at the intersection of 11th and Monroe streets, just south of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and across Interstate 630 from the main UAMS campus in Little Rock — is scheduled for completion in January 2024, he said. It will serve 200 children of UAMS employees and students, and almost all of the costs will be covered by grants and tax credits.
A 115,000-square-foot Northwest Arkansas orthopedic and sports medicine facility “is in the design phase,” he said. The $89 million facility will focus on helping Northwest Arkansas residents, including Arkansas Razorbacks athletes.