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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

State Capitol Week in Review

Thursday, April 29, 2004

A legislative subcommittee will reopen hearings into the quality of care at the state's largest human development center in order to verify the extent of problems reported by the U.S. Justice Department.

The critical report follows an investigation by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division of the Conway Human Development Center. According to the report, medical treatment at the center has been inadequate.

The investigation also faulted the quality of physical and occupational therapy, failure to determine the causes of the deaths of residents and failure to make sure that residents are given the right medications.

The Conway Human Development Center cares for people with severe and multiple disabilities. The center can house more than 600 people.

Two years ago, after news reports revealed that the center had problems in the care and treatment of residents, a legislative subcommittee held hearings to determine the extent of the problems.

The subcommittee's Senate chairman said he wanted to hold further hearings to make sure that the Conway Human Development Center had acted on the reforms proposed by the subcommittee.

The state operates six human development centers for people with multiple disabilities. They are in Alexander, Arkadelphia, Booneville, Conway, Jonesboro and Warren. They care for more than 1,300 people.

The Justice Department report also had positive findings, noting that employees at the Conway facility are dedicated individuals who are genuinely concerned for the well being of the people in their care.

The Justice Department is a federal agency. State officials said they disagreed with the report and would respond vigorously in defense of treatment at the Conway center.

Federal and state agencies combine to pay for the operations of the human development centers. The majority of funding is through the Medicaid program.

UAMS Geriatric Program

The geriatrics program at Arkansas' medical school has moved up to eighth place nationally in a prestigious ranking of graduate programs by a national news magazine.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) last year was ranked ninth in geriatric care in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. In this year's survey, the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics at UAMS moved ahead of Yale University's geriatrics program. Other geriatric departments on the list include Harvard, Duke and Johns Hopkins.

The UAMS primary care program was ranked 52nd by the magazine. This year is the first time UAMS has been on the magazine's list of leading primary care programs.

The rankings are based on surveys by professionals at accredited medical schools, meaning that UAMS physicians, teachers and administrators are well respected by their peers.