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Chancellor Cam Patterson answers a question as Chief of Staff Michael Manley looks on during the town hall meeting.

Image by Evan Lewis

Robert Barrentine, Chief of the UAMS Police Department, first spoke about ways employees can protect themselves in the event of a campus shooting.

“With all the active shooter events happening across the country, we realize this is an important topic,” he said.

UAMS Chief of Police Department Robert Barrentine gives a presentation on campus safety.

UAMS Chief of Police Department Robert Barrentine gives a presentation on campus safety.Evan Lewis

Barrentine said UAMS employees can ask police for a workspace assessment, during which an officer will point out the safest places and help them make a plan to protect themselves in the event of a shooting. asset. In response to a question later in the meeting, Barrentine noted that officers can also perform assessments for the university’s regional programs.

The police chief said if a shooting were to occur, employees should adopt a strategy to “avoid, deny, defend”. Avoiding means paying attention to the surroundings and moving away from the source of a threat. Denying involves creating barriers to slow down a shooter, as well as turning off lights and staying out of sight. And if these measures do not prevent an encounter with an attacker, then people should be ready to defend themselves.

Barrentine urged employees to be proactive, describing them as “the first line of defense.” He said anyone who sees a potential threat should call the police immediately.

Chancellor Cam Patterson, MD, MBA commended the police department for its efforts to prevent threats on campus. “Our police are doing an incredible job keeping us safe,” he said.

Joseph Sanford, MD, director of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, followed Barrentine with an update on the university’s UAMS HealthNow program. HealthNow offers virtual care for common illnesses, stomach or skin issues, or minor injuries. It also provides HIV and COVID-19 prevention services.

HealthNow virtual care has had 1,298 visits through the Epic system since March 2020, including 392 in the past six months, Sanford said.

Sanford has reported 3,400 patient contacts for COVID-19 services since March 2020. HealthNow began offering remote therapy on June 10 with Paxlovid, an antiviral drug for people with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. Sanford said 26 prescriptions for Paxlovid were written through HealthNow.

Sanford also noted the success of the UAMS Virtual Hernia Clinic. The virtual clinic, launched in April, performs pre-operative assessments remotely, with the patient’s only in-person visit taking place on the day of surgery. The clinic has seen 39 patients so far and 14 have been referred to the surgical team. The others are in the optimization program to prepare them for their procedures.

The HealthNow team also provides screening services for AR ConnectNow, a virtual program that offers behavioral health treatment for a variety of mental health issues. AR ConnectNow, which is run by the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute, has recorded 2,923 patient contacts since May 2020, Sanford said.

In the coming year, HealthNow aims to expand direct services by increasing its number of digital clinical partnerships and plans to engage colleges across the state to use the program to benefit students and employees.

“I’m very proud of the organization for establishing this new modality of health care,” Sanford said.

Asked about UAMS’ vision for the future of digital health services, Patterson noted their scalability, which “means we can grow faster in the digital health space than in clinical health programs, and we are committed to making it happen.”

Patterson said UAMS will continue to research new ways to provide these services. “I think we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg right now,” he said.

The town hall also highlighted the upcoming transition from UAMS to the Workday management system. Workday, which will replace the SAP and My Compass systems, will go live on July 5.

“It’s been a long time, and we’re finally here,” said UA System’s Nathan Nolen, who presented on the Workday implementation. Nolen highlighted the benefits of Workday, including its mobile accessibility, user-friendly interface, and real-time data.

When Workday goes live, employees will receive a day one checklist. Some of the items will require employees to take action, such as requesting future time off or adding payees. Other elements will require them to examine the data.

Training for Workday was awarded on My Compass, and Nolen said the employee completion rate was 82%. All UAMS employees hired before April 1 also have access to a training tenant which allows them to connect to a Workday replication and practice performing transactions.

UAMS plans to hold a series of public sessions at the end of June to walk employees through logging into Workday and provide them with information on where they can get support after the system goes live. program. Separate sessions on June 28 will offer help with ICE employees and collegesand one public session will take place on June 29. Employees can also attend sessions in person at the Spine Institute’s Fred Smith Auditorium.

Asked at the end of the meeting about the current state of COVID-19 in Arkansas, Patterson said, “What we know about the future is that the future is hard to predict.” He said the virus is unlikely to go away, but its severity is decreasing as people gain immunity through infections or vaccines and have access to effective therapies.

Patterson noted that medical experts still don’t have a full understanding of long COVID, and doctors are likely to see an increase in the number of patients with long-term complications.

Amid a surge in COVID numbers in Arkansas, Steppe Mette, MD, CEO of UAMS Medical Center and Senior Vice Chancellor of UAMS Health, said the campus would not change its policy that requires masking in areas where people will interact with patients.

“Once you enter the hospital building or any clinical space, we always ask all patients, families and employees to mask up,” he said.