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GAO: Arkansas Medicaid plan not revenue-neutral

GAO: Arkansas Medicaid plan not revenue-neutral

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Government auditors say Arkansas' private option Medicaid plan will cost taxpayers an extra $778 million over the next three years rather than being "revenue-neutral" to the federal budget.

The Department of Health and Human Services disagreed with the findings, which were released Monday. It said the federal Government Accountability Office didn't take into consideration major program changes within Arkansas' Medicaid system.

A spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe said the report was prepared without anyone at the GAO contacting Arkansas for its input. Spokesman Matt DeCample said the state should expect higher startup costs as 200,000 people enter the health care system, but that costs eventually will be lower as the population becomes healthier.

Under the plan, Arkansas will use Medicaid funds to provide private health insurance for poor people.

Help the Red Cross prepare for emergencies by donating blood

Help the Red Cross prepare for emergencies by donating blood

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (RedCross) — Disasters can strike at any time, and the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to help their communities prepare for emergencies by giving blood during National Preparedness Month.

The mission of the Red Cross is to help the public prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. During National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross reminds Americans to take simple steps to get ready for emergencies in their homes, workplaces and communities. One way to support this mission is to become a regular blood donor.

A stable blood supply is central to ensuring patient needs are met in emergencies. Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients. It’s the blood already on the shelves that can help save lives when disaster strikes.

Ragweed season in full swing

Ragweed season in full swing


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Fall allergy season is already in the air. One of the most common allergens in Arkansas right now is ragweed.

"Here in Arkansas it usually begins in the second or third week of August," said Dr. Karl Sitz, Little Rock Allergy and Asthma Clinic. "And will peak in the first or second week of September, and continue until early October."

He said the plant is more recognizable that you may realize.

"It's a bush that you can look at as you're driving down the road and you'll see it growing on the side of the road in ditches," he said.

The classic symptoms include sneezing, stuffiness, watery eyes and a runny nose. But with other fall pollens in the air, it's hard to know for sure if ragweed is the cause of those symptoms.

Hospital reports increase in snake bites

Hospital reports increase in snake bites

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV)- Doctors and nurses at Arkansas Children's Hospital are reporting a 50 percent increase in snake bites this summer.

Children's Hospital typically sees 20 to 25 snake bites a year, but already this year they've treated 30 cases. Donna Parnell-Beasley is the trauma coordinator at Arkansas Children's Hospital, and she says they're not really sure about the uptick, but wants parents to be aware.

"Children may have been outside playing more than when it's really, really hot."

Parnell-Beasley says 2014 is shaping up to be the summer of snakes

"The majority of the injuries we've seen this summer have been on feet where children step down next to a snake and a snake bites them."

Baptist Health Medflight personnel receive prestigious awards

Baptist Health Medflight personnel receive prestigious awards

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Baptist Health) – During the 2014 Arkansas Emergency Medical Services Conference held in Hot Springs July 30 through August 3, two Baptist Health MedFlight employees received state recognition for their contributions.

Pat Hum, of Conway, a MedFlight flight nurse for 30 years, was presented with the 2014 AEMTA Air Medical Award of Excellence at the conference. This inaugural award was created to recognize individuals who have significantly contributed to local, state and national provision, development and/or improvement to the air medical industry of Arkansas.

Race for the Cure scheduled for October

Race for the Cure scheduled for October

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Women united in the city on Tuesday as the Arkansas chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation made their big "Race for the Cure" announcement.

The theme for this year's race is "Move. Be Moved".

A breast cancer survivor spoke at the event today, describing her fight and what the race means to her.

"My wonderful husband Barry Marshall and my beautiful daughter Mattie Underwood were right by my side during the process giving constant, love, care, support and it's this same love that you cannot help but to experience on the race day," said survivor Celese Marshall.

The race is set for Saturday, October 4th. Their goal is set at $1.6 million for breast cancer research, education, screenings and treatments.

The Arkansas Race for the Cure is one of the largest Komen events across the country.

Blood drives happening in August

Blood drives happening in August

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Red Cross)— The American Red Cross encourages all eligible blood donors to make an appointment to donate blood soon to help prevent a shortage.

During the summer months, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what is needed to meet the needs of patients. Vacations and summer activities are among the reasons regular donors may not find the time to give. But, patients don’t get a vacation from needing blood – the need is constant.

As a national network, the Red Cross has a unique responsibility to help ensure blood is available for patients whenever and wherever it is needed. By donating blood or platelets through the Red Cross, donors may be helping patients in their community or patients across the nation.

Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days, so they must constantly be replenished.