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Children’s Hospital looks to the future Development officer speaks to local Kiwanis Club

Posted on November 15, 2018

Rhonda McBain, a development officer for the Arkansas Children’s Foundation, part of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, spoke to the El Dorado Kiwanis Club on Wednesday about the history and future of the hospital.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Medical Center of South Arkansas announced a joining commitment last week with the Arkansas Children’s Nursery Alliance.

McBain elaborated on what Arkansas Children’s Hospital does in the state and addressed statistics, including Arkansas being ranked 46 in the nation of overall children’s health.

In Arkansas, McBain said 4 in 10 children lack sufficient access to medical or dental care, 64 percent of children are considered low income and 35,000 children in the state are completely without health insurance.

Also in Arkansas, 1 in 5 children between the ages of 10 and 17 are obese, 28 percent of children don’t have adequate access to nutrition and 11,000 cases of child abuse are reported each year.

“Our vision is to fundamentally transform health care delivery for the children of Arkansas and beyond,” McBain said. “In order to reach the more than 710,000 children in Arkansas, where they live, learn and play, there is a new approach that we need to use.”

The approach McBain was referring to is the Nursery Alliance and other innovative initiatives the hospital is currently working on.

Other than the Nursery Alliance, which now consists of five hospitals across Arkansas, includes launching dental vans across the state that will treat oral health and also telehealth.

Telehealth is a collection of methods for enhancing health care, public health and health education delivery from doctors by using telecommunication technologies, which include video conferencing.

“I know dental vans for sure are being launched in this area,” McBain said. “Oral health is really a big indicator for children’s health. They say that the state of their oral health can really reflect the entire state of your overall health, so that is part of why we are investing in these dental vans to be launched in the El Dorado area, to treat children’s oral health here.”

McBain said Arkansas Children’s Hospital does not turn any child away, “so we literally mean that all children in the state of Arkansas are truly cared for at Arkansas Children’s.”

“We have a map that shows roughly how many patients we see each year from each county and I want to say Union County is close to about 4,000 patients each year,” McBain said. “So we do see quite a few children from here.”

McBain said their ultimate goal is to improve children’s health and that Arkansas Children’s wants to do that by expanding access for health care and reducing costs.

“If we do those two things, our hope is to eventually enhance outcomes so that we can reach our goal to improve overall health,” she added.

Kaitlyn Rigdon can be reached at 870-862-6611 or krigdon@ .