Arkansas Medical Care

Arkansas political observers may be cross-eyed by the time all of the legal machinations between optometrists and ophthalmologists are settled.

On Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied a petition for rehearing of a ruling that allowed Safe Surgery Arkansas to proceed with its efforts to gain ballot access for its proposal to reverse Act 579. That law was passed in the 2019 regular session and expanded optometrists’ scopes of practice, allowing them to perform certain eye procedures that have traditionally been limited to ophthalmologists.

Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker
KATV-Channel 7

A doctor from southwest Arkansas has been arrested on charges of overprescribing opiates and other drugs.

Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday the arrest of Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker and unsealed a grand jury indictment charging the Texarkana, Arkansas, physician with nine counts of prescribing without a legitimate medical purpose. Jordan is to appear in court Wednesday.

Safe Surgery Arkansas is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to appoint a special master to review its signature collections and it is challenging the legality of a new law that was used by the Secretary of State to reject counting its petitions.

Senator John Boozman
George Jared / Talk Business & Politics

Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas is cosponsoring legislation that attempts to address a shortage of physicians. Medical school graduates are required to complete residency training to begin practicing, but Boozman says a 1997 cap on Medicare funding has led to a shortage of available residencies in the state.

"We have a situation where we have a lot of people graduating from medical school and then can’t find residencies in Arkansas. So as a result, probably 40 percent of them go out of state. Many of them never come back," Boozman said.