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Emergency Care-Arkansans in rural underserved areas have a system in place to address heart attack, stroke, trauma, and other time critical conditions.

Strategies and Measurable Objectives

In 2019-2020, the ADH recruited over 70 partners from within the Agency and outside to form an initial planning team to identify state health improvement areas and develop ideas for strategies and objectives within each area. During phase one, the planning team formed workgroups and determined eight priority areas for the state level health improvement. Each priority area is presented as a Result (R) in the Result section of this Scorecard. 

Phase two had consisted of working on the ideas for strategies and objectives and later formalizing the ideas for approval. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, phase two was substantially delayed. In 2022, a new Planning and Implementation Team, with incumbent and new members, will convene to build on the ideas presented by the old team. The Planning Group will finalize strategies, objectives, activities, and collaborative partners within each area and implement the SHIP. 

The Scorecard will be updated as these developments occur.

Policy Agenda

To be determined by the new Planning and Implementation Team.

Additional Data Needed/Potential Indicators

To be determined by the new Planning and Implementation Team.

Workgroup Members

In 2022, the new Planning and Implementation Team will form workgroup for each priority area for monitoring implementation and reporting.

Workgroup Action Plan

Will be developed by workgroups.

SHIP Partners

  • AR American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
  • AR Center for Health Improvement (ACHI)
  • AR Department of Health
  • AR Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council
  • AR Emergency Medical Technicians Association
  • AR Hospital Association
  • AR Rural Health Partnership
  • AR State Dental Association
  • AR Trauma Advisory Council
  • Arkansas STEMI Advisory Council
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Employers
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • Healthcare Payors    Rupa - not sure what is meant by this? Third Party Payers?
  • Local Volunteer Fire Departments
  • Public Safety Answering Points (911 Call Centers)
  • Schools


Why Is This Important?

What is rural health?
According to U.S Census Data almost 44 percent of Arkansans live in rural areas. According to the definition for rural that the United States Office of Budget and Management uses, 53 of the 75 counties in Arkansas are considered rural. However, there are rural areas even in counties that are not defined as rural counties.

Why is rural health important to Arkansas?

In many ways people who live in Arkansas’s rural areas have the same barriers to good health as people who live in Arkansas’s cities. However, they may also experience barriers that people who live in cities may not. For example, people who live in rural counties have higher rates of chronic diseases and are more likely to be involved in serious accidents. Yet people who live in rural areas must travel greater distances to see a doctor or go to the hospital. In some rural counties, there are no hospitals. People who live in rural counties also tend to have shorter life expectancies. Babies in those counties tend to have higher infant death rates. And the people there are more likely to struggle with low health literacy.

Low Access to Health Care
People in rural Arkansas have greater difficulty getting the health care they need compared to those who live in the non-rural counties. One reason they have difficulty getting health care is because of the cost. In general, 15.3 percent of Arkansans report that they were not able to see a doctor in the past 12 months due to the cost, compared to 13 percent in the United States. However, in many rural counties, more than 20 percent of residents were not able to see a doctor due to cost. Lack of health insurance makes the cost of seeing a doctor hard, if not impossible to afford. In Arkansas 25 percent of working-age adults have no health insurance. In many rural counties it is even higher.

A second reason that people who live in rural Arkansas find it hard to get health care is that there is a shortage of health care on hand in their communities. For example, 39 counties in Arkansas have only one hospital and 19 counties have no hospital at all.

Many of the rural counties in Arkansas have been named as Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) by the Health Services and Resources Administration of the United States government. A Medically Underserved Area is a part of a county, a whole county or a group of nearby counties in which the residents have a shortage of personal health services. Here is a map that shows the Medically Underserved Areas in Arkansas.

There is also a general shortage of primary care doctors in Arkansas. This shortage can be especially great in the rural areas. Primary care doctors can be doctors who work in general practice medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or obstetrics and gynecology. The rural areas in Arkansas have 73 primary care doctors for every 100,000 residents, while in the cities there are 133 primary care doctors for every 100,000 residents. Some of the rural areas have a more severe shortage than others. In the delta area of eastern Arkansas, there are only 61 primary care doctors for every 100,000 residents.

Source: Arkansas State Health Assessment, 2020


Current Actual Value
Current Target Value
% Change
51.8 rate per 100,000

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Scorecard Container Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy