Partnership Between UAMS And Baptist Health-Conway Raises Red Flags

Dec 11, 2018

The main campus of the University of Arkansas for Medical Science in Little Rock.

Arkansas legislators will be meeting next week as part of an ongoing inquiry into a partnership between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway. Arkansas Business delves into the conflict in this week’s issue:

Members of the Arkansas Legislature’s Joint Performance Review Committee set a Dec. 17 meeting to ask more questions about the contract, which has been criticized by Matt Troup, president and CEO of Conway Regional Health System. He said the contract is unfair competition because UAMS, a taxpayer-supported teaching hospital, is helping to supply doctors to the crosstown rival, which started seeing patients in September 2016.

In January, the Joint Performance Review Committee held a hearing and quizzed UAMS about the arrangement. During the meeting, which also was attended by officials from Conway Regional and Baptist Health, the committee requested more information from UAMS about details of the arrangement.

In October, UAMS submitted the answers, Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, co-chair of the JPRC, told Arkansas Business last week. “The answers were relatively unresponsive to the questions submitted by members,” he said. “So we’ll ask officials from UAMS to provide us those answers in full.”

He said potential legislation is also being discussed that would require UAMS to collaborate with any hospital that wants a similar partnership.

KUAR spoke with Arkansas Business reporter Mark Friedman about his story, which can be heard above.

KUAR has a partnership with UAMS, which is also an underwriter for the station. KUAR's newsroom has editorial independence.