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Osteopathic college starts Delta project

The New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine-Arkansas has launched a program dedicated to improving health outcomes in the state's Delta region.

The Delta Population Health Institute will administer rural health initiatives, operate a mobile health unit, run a policy lab and facilitate a congressional fellowship with U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford's office, a news release said.

"When a community doesn't have access to healthy food, adequate transportation, affordable housing, education, or quality health care, those issues impact their overall health," said Brookshield Laurent, clinical medicine chair and institute executive director.

"We've created the [Delta Population Health Institute] to serve and collaborate with Delta communities, learners, leaders, policymakers, government agencies and stakeholders to lead change that results in healthier communities as we address these issues that are so prevalent throughout our region."

The institute also will offer master of public health and population health certificate programs.

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine-Arkansas is housed on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Hospitals in state join payment suit

Several Arkansas hospitals have joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over Medicare reimbursement rates.

Unity Health in Searcy, St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro, Baptist Health and other Arkansas health organizations joined more than 600 hospitals nationwide as plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., last week.

The lawsuit deals with a 0.7% payment cut for inpatient services that the hospitals say should have ended after fiscal 2017.

Attorneys for the hospitals argue that the reductions are costing the group about $840 million per year. That's about $200,000 per property on average, according to a complaint.

The government has not yet filed a response in the lawsuit.

UA board dissolves UAMS fertility unit

The University of Arkansas System board of trustees approved a proposal Friday to shutter a reproductive endocrinology infertility program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

The program is being closed due to "lack of widespread utilization" and low patient volumes, and will stop seeing clients Dec. 31.

Residents' training won't be affected, and staff are being reassigned to other placements, officials said.

One tenured faculty member for whom an alternative placement is not available will be terminated, according to materials reviewed by trustees.

Trustees approved the proposal at their regular meeting Friday held at University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Abortion reporting bill gains support

Both Arkansas U.S. senators have backed a bill that would require more complete reporting of abortion data by states.

Sen. John Boozman this month signed on as a co-sponsor of S.2585, called the "Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act of 2019." U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is among the bill's original sponsors.

The bill would mandate reporting of data on abortions by states to the federal government, which has been voluntary in the past.

Under the proposed legislation, some Medicaid federal family planning dollars would be withheld if states did not report the information.

The bill has been referred to a Senate committee. A companion bill in the House is supported by U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman.

In other health-related bills recently backed by members of the Arkansas delegation, U.S. Rep. French Hill last week co-sponsored a bill that would create a national three-number suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline (similar to 911).

Rep. Rick Crawford is also a sponsor of that bill, which has been forwarded for House committee review.

Information for this article was contributed by Emily Walkenhorst of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

NW News on 11/26/2019

Print Headline: Osteopathic college starts Delta project Hospitals in state join payment suit join U.S. health case UA board dissolves UAMS fertility unit Abortion reporting bill gains support

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