by Max Brantley
Arkansas Children's Hospital, marking its 100th birthday today with an event including former President Bill Clinton among the speakers, said it had raised $100 million already toward a $160 milion goal to apply to pediatric care, research, education and prevention. The fund drive will run through 2014. The hospital said about 20 percent of the money raised so far came from "family" — board members, employees, physicians and faculty.
The money will partially fund the South Wing of the sprawling facility, one of the country's largest of its type. The South Wing is to open in July.
Gov. Mike Beebe was also among the speakers. No word just yet on whether discussions today included the perils facing the state in Medicaid funding and the pressures a static budget — not to mention a growing anti-tax legislative contingent — place on an institution like Children's. It receives a huge portion of its revenue from government insurance and other programs.