If their start-up grants are approved, three out-of-state hospitals will receive up to $1.5 million in Arkansas trauma system funds, half the amount available to help hospitals meet the requirements of Level 1, the highest level of care.
Funding for The Med (Regional Medical Center) in Memphis has been widely discussed and virtually assured, thanks to the number of Arkansans in East Arkansas who seek treatment there. In the past few weeks, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis and St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Mo., also applied for the state funds, which derive from the new tax on tobacco products. The three, already designated as trauma Level 1 facilities in their states, would receive up to $500,000 each, the cap for out-of-state grants.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital are seeking up to $1 million each. Baptist Health System has not applied for the designation. The trauma system, directed by the state Health Department, will grant nearly $13.5 million to hospitals in 2010.
Sixty hospitals applied for start-up grants by the July 1 deadline. Six are seeking Level 2 status, 18 Level 3 and 31 Level 4. Donnie Smith, director of the Health Department's Center for Health Protection, said applications that met the deadline will be evaluated first, but that hospitals may continue to apply. It's hoped that all 86 of Arkansas's hospitals will take part at some level.
Smith said any award to an out-of-state facility would take into consideration the volume of Arkansas trauma cases the hospital is handling.
Ray Winder compromise
The Arkansas Blog (at arktimes.com) reported this week, in case you missed it, that a compromise is in the works on future use of Ray Winder Field, the former baseball park. UAMS would buy the city's 3-acre parcel for $1.1 million. But to avoid a net loss of parkland, the War Memorial Stadium Commission has agreed to give up an easement on a slightly larger parcel of land between the Zoo and Ray Winder so that the zoo may use it to expand. UAMS would provide a compensating amount of land for stadium parking in its acquisition of the city and state-owned portions of Ray Winder. All parties reportedly are in agreement, but Mayor Mark Stodola has not put the deal before the City Board.