Ryall Addresses MHSA/MHA Alumni; Stover Awarded Alumni of the Year

By Ashley McNatt

Bo Ryall, M.P.A., president and Chief Executive Officer of the Arkansas Hospital Association, spoke on the “State of Hospitals in Arkansas” at the Annual Alumni Association luncheon for the College of Public’s Health Master of Health Services Administration/Master of Health Administration program.

MHA Students

MHA students listen to the talk.Image Credit: Sam Giannavola

“According to a report published by Arkansas Business in October 2019, 47 of the 90 hospitals in Arkansas listed lost money last year,” Ryall said. “A report from Navigant Consulting deemed 18 Arkansas hospitals at high financial risk.”

Since 2010, 121 rural hospitals have closed nationwide. In Arkansas, DeQueen Medical Center closed its doors last May. North Metro Medical Center in Jacksonville shut down in August 2019.

Ryall said Arkansas cannot afford to lose another hospital in the state.

“39 counties in the state are served by a single hospital,” Ryall said. “23 counties, or more than 30%, do not have a hospital at all.”

Two major concerns when hospitals are facing possible closure is access to care and the economic impact those hospitals have on the state, according to Ryall.

“Arkansas hospitals are typically the largest, second or third largest employer in each county or community in the state,” said Ryall. “The total economic impact for hospitals in the state is $11.5 billion.”

Ryall also discussed the payment structure for Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance and the uninsured, and the impact of those on Arkansas hospitals.

Ryall outlined things that need to be done to prevent more hospitals from closing, such as increasing the health care workforce, improvements in health information technology, making telehealth accessible to every community, and expanding critical access hospital eligibility.

Looking ahead to the next legislative session, Ryall said, “We have been discussing the vulnerability of Arkansas hospitals, specifically those in rural parts of the state and what can be done to improve them. We are hopeful that this will be a priority in the next session and that we will be able to get more funding for these facilities.”


Jake Stover, MHA, receives the 2019 Outstanding MHA/MHSA Alumni AwardImage Credit: Sam Giannavola

Prior to Ryall’s talk, the 2019 Outstanding MHA/MHSA Alumni Award was presented to Jake Stover. Stover, chief administrative officer and associate vice chancellor for Clinical Finance at UAMS, is a 2009 graduate of the program. Stover has spent most of his career at UAMS, serving previously as the associate dean for finance and chief financial officer in the College of Medicine, as well as director of treasury, assistant vice chancellor for finance, associate vice chancellor for finance, and treasurer.