Q&A with Dr. Roxane Townsend

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Q&A with Dr. Roxane Townsend

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | January 15, 2015
From the January 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCBN: What are your biggest challenges at UAMS?

Arkansas has 210,000 newly insured patients. So we have to budget for the next year as if the legislature is going to make funding available at that level. We spend a lot of time educating the legislature about health care to help them make an informed decision.

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We have capacity issues right now. We opened a new patient tower in 2009 and it's 94 percent occupied - some days we've had to hold as many as 14 patients in the ER until a bed opened up.

We also have many transfers from other hospitals who decide a patient would be better off with us, so we work hard to accommodate those patients. Patients don't want to wait, but as a Level I Trauma Center, sometimes an elective surgery patient, for example, may have their case delayed until later in the day if we have an emergency.

HCBN: What else is going well at UAMS?

We knew the newly insured would be looking for doctors. So we have added 10 new primary care doctors and opened new offsite family clinics. We did see a gain in revenue of $10 million from the beginning of our fiscal year in July through September, but we also saw a corresponding increase in expenses related to these higher volumes. We had some increased expense related to electronic medical records, but that also helped us do a better job with charge capture. We are seeing a positive bottom line so far this year.

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