Name: Richard H. Turnage, M.D.
Hospital: UAMS Medical Center
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, La.; Medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport, Shreveport, La.; Surgical residency at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor, Mich.
First job in health care: Orderly in a rehab hospital
What do you think is the biggest issue facing the health care industry in Arkansas today?
Staffing. We have a tight labor market in nursing and a shortage of primary care and specialty physicians. This is particularly difficult in rural areas of the state, and will continue to be significant for the foreseeable future.
There has been a lot of reorganization among Arkansas hospitals. How does that impact the industry? Hospitals are searching for ways to become more efficient while maintaining or expanding the services they provide. Partnerships between hospitals may expand the portfolio of services offered by a particular hospital to a community without duplicating the expense.
Has personnel shortage been an issue for your hospital? If so, how have you addressed it?
Yes, and we have made adjustments in our compensation schedules to ensure our salaries are market-competitive. In addition, we are focusing on employee engagement and working to address concerns that our employees have told us they feel are important. Our goal is to create a work environment that inspires employees to perform their best and put in extra effort to deliver the best care possible for our patients.
Who can you collaborate with beyond the traditional?
Other health systems, other hospitals, individual providers, and employers. I think we’ll see a lot of innovative partnerships in the future that we haven’t yet imagined. We are already partnering with law enforcement agencies and schools across Arkansas on an important “Stop the Bleed” training program, which teaches proper bleeding control techniques, including how to use your hands, dressings and tourniquets. This program just started, and we’ve already seen several patients in our emergency department who probably wouldn’t have lived if their local law enforcement had not used the techniques taught in this training.