While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so do the healthcare needs of Arkansans who are not affected by the virus.
But have you been wondering if it is safe to get the healthcare you need in the middle of the pandemic?
For the first time in history, six Central Arkansas hospitals have come together for the greater good and to better the health of Arkansans. These hospitals and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield are part of a Fifty for the Future initiative that reminds Arkansans that our state’s hospitals, emergency rooms and physician offices have never been safer or better prepared to provide care. There is no need to delay their healthcare.
The six hospitals are Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Heart Hospital, Arkansas Surgical Hospital, Baptist Health, CHI St. Vincent and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a sponsor of this initiative.
Fifty for the Future is an Arkansas non-profit organization led by progressive, community-minded business leaders with the mission of identifying, developing and supporting regional projects and policies that will have a significant long-term positive impact on the metro Little Rock region. Priority areas of focus include economic development, public education/workforce development and public safety.
“At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we recognize the success of the healthcare system rests with our collective ability to get and keep people healthy,” Curtis Barnett, president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross, said Tuesday at a press conference to launch the initiative. “We also recognize that a big part of getting and keeping people healthy is getting the healthcare they need when they need it.
“When we started hearing stories from our members several weeks ago that they were delaying care because of concerns of being exposed to COVID 19 and these delays were having a terrible effect on their health, we knew we had to do something. So when the Take Care Arkansas initiative under Dr. [Dean] Kumpuris’ leadership began to take shape and began to come together, we were pleased to provide matching seed money for this campaign and to stand in support of our healthcare providers.”
Dr. Kumpuris said that Arkansas’ healthcare organizations are responding “generously and effectively” in the fight against COVID-19.
“Now it’s time for Arkansans to get back to their everyday healthcare needs,” Dr. Kumpuris, medical director of Fifty for the Future, said. “In fact, staying home when you need care can be extremely risky. If you delay a trip to the ER, a surgery, your child’s routine vaccinations, a yearly wellness visit or any other medical needs, that decision can have negative long-term consequences on your health.”
Fifty for the Future has also launched a Take Care Arkansas Facebook page to host weekly Lunch and Learns for the community. These 30-minute conversations will be held at noon on July 1, 8 and 15 and will feature representatives from the six partner hospitals. The public is encouraged to tune in to hear live updates from hospital representatives as they discuss new safety protocols and emphasize the importance of returning to regular healthcare visits.