Our Commitment to SOUTH Arkansas

We are committed to sharing the rural story in a way that affects positive change within our towns, organizations, and state capital and we will serve as a resource for rural health across the region, state, and nation. We will accomplish this through innovation, collaboration, advocacy, and action.

Our Commitment to South Arkansas

We are committed to sharing the rural story in a way that affects positive change within our towns, organizations, and state capital and we will serve as a resource for rural health across the region, state, and nation. We will accomplish this through innovation, collaboration, advocacy, and action.

“Rural areas cover 97 percent of the nation’s land area but contain 19.3 percent of the population (about 60 million people).”
- John H. Thompson, Census Bureau Director

Why Rural?

There is a major need for access to quality health care & education for patients and education & training for healthcare providers in the ARHP service area. Our goal is to ensure access to quality and localized healthcare throughout rural Arkansas through collaborative efforts.

443,187 Residents

The estimated size of the general population within ARHP’s 22 service area counties is 443, 187 residents (33.9% Black, 62.1% White, 4.2% Hispanic). Pine Bluff is the largest town in the region, home to about 42,984 residents (US Census, 2017 & 2018)

-6.6% Decline in Population

Despite an uptick in population in rural areas nationwide since 2016, there has been a continual decline in population in 20 out of 22 service area counties with an average population trend of - 6.6% decline between 2010 - 2018 (USDA, US Census)

22.8% Persons Living In Poverty

The average number of persons living in poverty in ARHP’s service area. The average for the state of Arkansas is 16.4%
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We're on a mission to help Arkansas' most vulnerable. But there are many barriers to overcome and we need your help.

Challenges

An individual living in south Arkansas had a life expectancy of ten years less than their neighbor in northwest Arkansas. (Arkansas Department of Health, 2016).

Lower life expectancy is due to many factors, including differences in physical activity, smoking, preventable hospital stays, and violent crime rates (County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, 2019).

Perhaps the most critical determinant of these factors is access, including access to education, employment, transportation, and healthcare providers (preventive, primary & emergent services).

Outward Migration

  • Estimated number of recent, significant employer closings/downsizing in service area: 20.
  • Since the 2017-2018 school year, seven schools have closed and two schools consolidated with other schools. Most of these schools were closed due to lack of enrollment (outward migration). (Arkansas Department of Education, self-reported data accessed September 2019)

Lack of Infrastructure

  • There is only a handful of public transit options within the service area, none of which are free. This increases transportation barriers for residents.
  • Mean travel time to work: 14.6 min average (service area) - lowest: 14.6, highest: 29.7 min. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 - 2017)
  • Average travel time to a grocery store: 20 - 40 min.

Healthcare Infrastructure

Since 2010, 93 rural hospitals have closed across the United States. Of the 26 states with closures, most of them occurred in the South, according to research completed by the NorthCarolina Rural Health Research Program(2018).

Recent Medicare cuts, Medicaid reductions, and new federal regulations have created the perfect storm for Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), placing many in critical condition. A single rural hospital closure can have a devastating impact on a town, including loss of patient encounters, healthcare and community jobs, and even the economic stability of the region.
  • 7 out of 15 hospitals in the service area are critical access hospitals. Critical access hospitals have 25 or fewer acute care inpatient beds and are located more than 35 miles from another hospital, exceptions may apply (RHIhub, 2019).
  • 20 counties within the service area are designated as a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) with the exception of Jefferson andUnion Counties [which have multiple service areas designated as MUA rather than county-wide] (HRSA Data Warehouse, 2019).
  • 86 miles: the average length of distance between EMS providers. Only 4 EMS providers serve 12 counties - with some distances of 1.5+hr. Range: 22 miles - 150 miles.
  • There is not a single hospital in the22 county service area with a dedicated labor
    & delivery floor. Only half of the counties have capabilities to deliver a baby.
Simply because of where they live, rural Americans often lack access to critical healthcare services. The Arkansas Rural Health Partnership is a leader in facilitating healthcare delivery to vulnerable populations in Arkansas by providing needed services that address their unique challenges. I applaud their tireless work to ensure the highest possible quality of life for Arkansans.
- Congressman Rick Crawford, AR-01
UAMS has had a long-standing and deep relationship with the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership. We consider this to be a strategic partnership joined by a passionate, shared commitment to common goals and a focus on how the university can support the training, education and clinical initiatives in the Delta region of Arkansas. I congratulate the alliance’s leadership for its achievements and look forward to supporting their efforts as we continue working to improve healthcare in the Delta.
- UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA
ARHP is using innovation to make healthcare more accessible, support rural providers, and address critical health needs in rural communities.
- Arkansas Lt. Governor Tim Griffin
Our Mission
To create and implement sustainable community solutions to improve the healthcare infrastructure and strengthen healthcare delivery in rural Arkansas.
In 2018, an individual living in rural South Arkansas had a life expectancy of ten years less than their neighbor in northwest Arkansas.
In an emergency situation, fast, reliable health services are a matter of life and death. Yet for many Arkansans, medical providers are often miles away. Improving rural health care access is one of my top priorities, which is why I included a variety of innovative approaches in the Fair Care Act.
We should be supporting rural health clinics and give them the tools needed – from telehealth options to fair Medicare reimbursement rates – to provide rural residents with a high quality of care. I applaud ARHP for their continued work on this issue, and hope to collaborate with them on even more solutions.
- U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

Rural Implications on Health

* The following statistics represent ARHP's service area average, with some counties' numbers being better than others

3,125:1 Patient to Physician Ratio

Average number of patients to primary care physicians in each county in the service area.

5.02% Poor Physical Health Days

Average number of physically unhealthy days reported in past 30 days.

11,432 Premature DEaths

Average number of premature deaths in South Arkansas.

5,903 Preventable Hospital Stays

The number of patients who have a chronic or acute condition that could have been managed in a primary care setting.

25% Poor or Fair Health

Percentage of adults reporting fair or poor health in 2018 - 2019.

-10 Years Life Expectancy

An individual living in South Arkansas had a life expectancy of ten years less than their neighbor in northwest Arkansas.
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