More info on trauma
I would like to respond to some of the comments that my friend and colleague Rep. Davy Carter made in a guest column March 14 concerning our trauma system bill. As the House sponsor and long time supporter of the need for a trauma system in Arkansas, I feel responsible for not getting Rep. Carter the information he needed.
The main reason we couldn't give a definite picture on how our system will look in three to five years is that it is a totally voluntary system for our providers. The packets went out from the Health Department last week to the 84 hospitals in Arkansas as well as trauma centers in surrounding states that treat Arkansas patients. We hope that all 84 will choose to participate by applying for trauma center designation based on their capability. But each hospital will have to make their own decision about their commitment to trauma care based on their current situation. If they are accepted, they will be awarded readiness grants to help offset the costs of being always ready to manage trauma at their level one, two, three, or four status. Money will not be going to patient care, but to maintain the system, i.e., hospital readiness, EMS readiness, and communication. The budget that was developed by the Trauma Advisory Council, the Board of Health and the Health Department to maintain the system will have to be adjusted as we see how all the pieces flow together. I certainly don't see any runaway costs, but there will definitely be adjustments made as this develops.
Hospitals, doctors and EMS systems in Arkansas are treating trauma on a daily basis. This system will not increase the amount of trauma in the state, but will allow trauma to be treated in a better and coordinated way that will save lives and reduce disabilities.
Rep. Gene Shelby, M.D.
On ‘tort reform'
Doug Smith's article on the recent Arkansas Supreme Court ruling on the Civil Justice Reform Act (CJRA) completely misstates the case and does not scratch the surface of the issues surrounding this piece of legislation. First, Arkansas' elected officials (presumably, the elected justices on the Court) did not rebuff any rich “fat cats,” but rather the Arkansas legislature, the vast majority of whom voted for the CJRA. Second, Smith did not mention the sorry state of affairs that prompted the legislation in the first place, what lawyers refer to as “joint and several liability.” CJRA largely eliminated joint and several liability and the Court left that provision intact.
In its ruling, the Court was on pretty solid ground, as the unanimous ruling shows. As to the two provisions struck down (a full discussion of which would unduly lengthen this letter), the legislature can accomplish the same ends in other ways, and I invite them to try again next session.
Ray Winder Field
I would just like to clear up a few things regarding the proposed acquisition of Ray Winder Field by UAMS. I will concede that the thought of turning a park into a parking lot does conjure bad feelings. But we have to stop thinking with our feelings and start thinking with facts.
First of all it should be noted that no one is proposing turning any green space into a parking lot. The area around Ray Winder is, if you will go and look, currently a parking lot. The only expansion to existing parking spaces would be the actual area where the baseball field now sits. War Memorial Park would be safe. No one is talking about tearing up the golf course, the playgrounds, or the fishing pond. I think War Memorial Park is a great green space and is very needed by the city. But lets not fool ourselves into thinking we have a problem with green space.
Look this is Little Rock, we might not be the eco-warrior capital of anything, but I have been to many cities in this fair country and I have seen very few that could hold a candle to the green spaces in Little Rock. So let's use caution when we take up arms against something and take time to know the facts.
If you cannot stand the thought of the city's largest employer having space to put its employees, then I say next time you are sick or need the emergency room, go to a park instead of a hospital and see how much better you feel.
Department of Epidemiology
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Thanks Mr. Obama
I would like to thank President Obama for the common sense, intelligence, tenacity, honor and courage to exemplify that while you have the power you don't have to flaunt it. Thank him for having the ability to think before he speaks. Thanks for having the insight to read and review information before taking a position. Thanks for listening to others. Thank you for being a leader in every sense of the word.
The world is the president's classroom. It appears that we can learn many things from him, if only we have the desire to accept change.