Rural Arkansas

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield President and CEO Curtis Barnett speaks to hospital executives Tuesday before presenting checks to help 14 hospitals share patient information.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Fourteen rural hospitals received Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield grants totaling $817,000 to fund their connection to a program enabling medical computer systems to talk to each other. The one-year grant will allow all the hospitals to connect to the state-operated State Health Alliance for Records Exchange at the highest level possible, said Blue Cross President and CEO Curtis Barnett.

Talk Business & Politics

The promise of some portion of $550 million in new federal funding brought together a consortium of state and national broadband leaders in mid-December at the Association of Arkansas Counties headquarters in Little Rock.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing to grant and loan money to boost high-speed broadband Internet infrastructure in rural America. The USDA Reconnect Pilot Program has an application window for this new round of funding that is set to open Jan. 31, 2020.

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.