Arkansas Department of Health

This is COVID-19 Questions and Answers that was aired on May 16, 2020.  This featured Dr. Shane Speights, Dean of the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.  Listen to the complete program here.  

Quarantine fatigue is a major concern with those who are most vulnerable.  As the economy starts to slowly open up, those with weakened immune systems are concerned about the expected increase in the numbers of COVID-19 cases.   For this perspective, I talked to Brittany Reeves, no relation.  She is a graduate student at Arkansas State University.  Reeves has the most severe form of spina bifida.  She is an amputee and her immune system is extremely compromised.  In this interview, I talked to her about her health conditions and her concerns about catching COVID-19.

City of Jonesboro

This is text of Mayor Harold Perrin’s speech: 

Thank you for joining us today.


As we begin, I want to say how proud I am of our community response over the past couple of months.


This is a trying time for our city. People are hurting. And as your mayor, your neighbor, and your friend, that’s a very hard thing for me to accept.


New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University in Wilson Hall in Jonesboro
Brandon Tabor / KASU News

As I approach my 40s, my annual wellness visits to my primary care physician usually consist of my doctor singing a familiar tune: improve your diet, get more exercise and make some changes to lose a little weight.

As important as those messages are, I’ll admit it’s easy for them to lose their gravitas when I hear the same things over and over again. Especially for me, a middle-aged man with an affinity for pizza and my television.

Arkansas Department of Health

JONESBORO, Ark., April 1, 2020- NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital has launched a new on-demand video visit feature through the Baptist OneCare MyChart app.

       This feature allows patients to schedule and conduct doctor’s appointments from their home or office, using a smartphone, computer or tablet. As with regular doctor’s appointments, patients may be required to pay co-pays or additional fees after their insurance is filed.

Arkansas Department of Health

This statement comes from St. Bernard's Healthcare to the KASU newsroom. 

JONESBORO (March 30, 2020) –“The health of our patients, families and team members guides every decision we make at St. Bernards. Early this year, we recognized COVID-19’s pandemic qualities and began immediate preparations for the virus to reach our region.


LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has authorized the release of $30 million to the Department of Finance and Administration for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care professionals and first responders as they test and treat patients who have contracted COVID-19.

Picture of the Cummins Unit sign of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in the state, the prison system is taking steps to help flatten the curve.  Arkansas Department of Corrections Communications Director Dina Tyler says  some of the precautions include suspending visitations for up to 21 days, as well as furloughs.  Tyler says the more that go out in the community, the greater chance something gets in the prisons.  She says one move has made it a little easier for inmates to contact their families:

Arkansas Department of Health

While Mayor Harold Perrin and Craighead County Judge Marvin Day confirmed the first positive test of COVID-19 in the Jonesboro area, government and health officials urged residents to continue and in some cases heighten the one known practice to reduce the impact of the coronavirus: social distancing.


For KASU News, I’m Johnathan Reaves. An Arkansas native is leading  a response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in New York.  Dr. Sherlita Amler is from Marmaduke and has several degrees from Arkansas State.  She is currently the Health Commissioner in Westchester, New York.  More than 300 people in New York state have been infected, over 100 of those in the area Dr. Amler is in.  She tells how this started in Westchester.  Click on the Listen button for the entire interview.  


Universities all over the world are scrambling to assess the risks to their programs from China's virus outbreak. Some are canceling study-abroad opportunities and prohibiting travel affecting hundreds of thousands of students. In the U.S., the cancellations add to the tension between two governments whose relations were already sour. The scare also threatens to cause lasting damage to growing academic exchange programs that reached new heights over the last decade and a half. China sends far more students to the U.S. than any other country, more than 369,000 in the last academic year.

Dental insurance is available in Arkansas as an additonal cost option under private and group health insurance plans. The state's expanded Medicaid program, Arkansas Works, provides optional access to dental insurance as well, as do Medicare advantage plans. Traditional Medicaid only covers emergency medical oral health. Plus, not all dentists in Arkansas accept Medicaid. And based on national data, a majority of Arkansans on Medicare may go without dental coverage.


Arkansas’ 12th medical marijuana dispensary is now open. KASU’s Johnathan Reaves has this report.

Last week, state officials gave the green light for N-E-A Full Spectrum to start operating.  The dispensary is located just north of Jonesboro on Highway 49 in the tiny community of Brookland. The opening of the business was welcome news to customers in line…many of whom say they had to drive several hours to other parts of the state to receive medical marijuana.  One of those is Penny Elder.

Arkansas State University

This is A-State Connections on KASU.  I’m Johnathan Reaves.  Arkansas State University offers many ways to get around the campus.  The campus has different modes of transportation for students.  Of course, students can enjoy a leisure walk or even skateboard, but also offered are VeoRide bikes and electric scooters.  A-State has done a lot recently to make sure that people can ride their bikes to their destination, including making PAC Paths on specific sidewalks across campus.  Associate Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications at Arkansas State University Dr.

Casey Pearce, NYITCOM at A-State

Recently, NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University recently unveiled a mobile medical vehicle, called the Detla Care-A-Van.  The 40-foot vehicle will take medical students to different communities across the delta to conduct health screenings.  The communities are Harrisburg, Leachville, Lepanto, Manila, Marked Tree, Piggott, and Walnut Ridge.  Dr. Brookeshield Laurent is the Chair of Clinical Medicine for NYIT-COM at A-State.  She is also director of the Delta Care-A-Van and tells more.  Click on the Listen button for more.

Arkansas State University

This is A-State Connections on KASU.    Arkansas State University has received a prestigious recognition from the League of American Bicyclists.  It is now a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly University.  Associate Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications Dr. Bill Smith tells about this designation.  Click on the Listen button for the entire interview.  

Emily Devereux

A translational research lab has been established with the joint efforts of Arkansas State University and St. Bernards Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Residency Program.  Telling us about the project is founder and director of the Translational Research Lab, Dr. Xiuzhen Huang and Dr. Sara Nehring of St. Bernards Medical Center, co-director.  In this interview, I asked Dr. Huang about this lab and how the researched started for this.  Click on the Listen button for the entire interview.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on March 6, 2017, presenting his proposed changes to the state's Medicaid-expansion program, which included the addition of a work requirement.

Unless there has been a rush of people this week who successfully logged on to a state website before a 9 p.m. deadline Thursday, thousands of Arkansas Works enrollees will be out of compliance with a newly enacted work requirement.


Incoming Senate President Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, says he wants members to vote later this year to open up the Senate chamber and its committee meetings for live-streaming.

Angela Lowther, Executive Dir. of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, sitting with Paul Gatling, Editor of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
Talk Business and Politics

Health insurance—it’s constantly a worry for business owners, and the dynamics are continually changing.  TB&P Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Editor Paul Gatling recently sat down with Angela Lowther, Executive Director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, to find out what’s happening… in the Marketplace.

The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned a lower court's ruling, and thus, an appointed commission and a state agency may resume rollout of the state's medical marijuana program, stalled since March.

But the court's majority opinion hewed closely to a procedural consideration, and its chief justice appears to be cautioning the Medical Marijuana Commission to re-evaluate its procedures.

The whole scene may end up back in court before long, says one lawyer close to the process.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing and dismissing a judge's ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first license for businesses to grow the drug.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

There are more opportunities for the use of alternate transportation on the campus of Arkansas State University. A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday at the site of the Pack Path’s multi use path at a bridge over Turtle Creek on the west side of campus. Chancellor Dr Kelly Damphousse said the project was made possible through a combination of federal, state and local funds.

"With the opening of  this trail, the total number of miles of Pack Paths we have on campus is about ten miles long," says Damphousse.  "These can be used for walking, riding, and running on our campus."

ADH: Possible Hepatitis A Exposure in Craighead County

Jun 12, 2018

Little Rock, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is warning of a possible Hepatitis A (Hep A) exposure after an employee of the Steak ‘n’ Shake in Jonesboro, Ark., located at 2307 E. Parker Rd., tested positive for the virus. Hep A is a contagious liver disease.

(L to R) Ray Hanley, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care CEO; Marquita Little, Health Policy Advisor for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families; and Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics.
Talk Business and Politics

Ray Hanley with Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care and Marquita Little with Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families discuss with Roby Brock of Talk Business a new Arkansas Works study that examines how the work requirement for Medicaid will impact Arkansans.

Arkansans seeking a medical abortion with the aid of mifepristone or misoprostol will have to find them in another state.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week not to hear an appeal from Planned Parenthood paves the way for Act 577 of 2015, and conservatives in the state are applauding the court’s decision.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. Arkansas is a pro-life state, and we will continue to be so,” says state Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley), president of the Arkansas Right to Life board.

Arkansas is one of just a few states that is choosing to implement work-related requirements, in order for people to keep getting health insurance through Medicaid. The state also stands out for requiring that the verification process be done online.

That could mean trouble for low-income beneficiaries, who happen to live in a state with some of the worst access to the internet in the nation. The rollout of the new requirements begins June 1st.

Justices allow Arkansas to enforce abortion restrictions

May 29, 2018
Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is allowing Arkansas to put in effect restrictions on how abortion pills are administered. Critics of a challenged state law say it could effectively end medication abortions in the state.


KENNETT, Mo. (AP) — The sudden closure of a hospital has left some expectant mothers in the Missouri Bootheel region scrambling for care in an area that already has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S.

An anonymous scientific survey conducted on the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville campus to measure the incidence of nonconsensual sexual contact revealed that 31 percent of women sampled reported being victims. Such contact includes campus rapes and sexual assaults as well as unwanted sexual touching.

The survey was conducted at the urging of an Arkansas legislator raising awareness about widespread sexual violence on college campuses, and that Arkansas is among more than a dozen states that do not teach comprehensive sex education in public schools — including what constitutes sexual consent.

Further illuminating the widely-reported UA survey, a female student who claims she was sexually assaulted carried around a bed sheet for weeks, raising alarm.