UAMS layoffs begin: Update | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, January 7, 2018

UAMS layoffs begin: Update

Posted By on Sun, Jan 7, 2018 at 11:07 AM

An anonymous source has provided the Times with an email from an employee who says UAMS' Office of Global Health has been defunded. The office is headed by Nick Zaller of the College of Public Health. We've asked UAMS administration whether Zaller, and perhaps others, have been laid off or transferred.

On Zaller's webpage, Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner is quoted as saying “Dr. Zaller has the enthusiasm and experience to ensure our Office of Global Health continues as resource for those seeking to improve health in Arkansas and around the world. ... His experience as a Fulbright Scholar in China and his research in areas related to international health and infectious disease epidemiology make him an ideal choice for the position.” It's not clear when that page was posted, but the OGH details a "2020 Vision."

UPDATE: UAMS confirms that funding for the office, which has an annual budget of $130,500, is being discontinued and one employee position has been eliminated. Zaller remains on faculty in the College of Public Health.

The employee email:

Greetings All,
It is with deep sadness that I let you know I will no longer be with UAMS. The Office of Global Health has been defunded. I’ve made many friends and built strong connections along the way. My time here has been amazing and eye-opening. Dr. Nick Zaller and the students of global health have taught me so much and I will forever treasure the lessons and experiences. I ask that you all keep me in your prayers as I make this tricky transition. My goal is to finish up my master’s at UALR earlier than expected, and to stay in contact with you all. If you should need me, please feel free to text me or email me at XXXXXXXX@gmail.com This is not goodbye, just a see you later.
I’ve had the time of my life!
Best,
XXXXXXX
The Times has received numerous complaints — though perhaps from the same person; it's not possible to tell — that the dean of the College of Medicine, Dr. Pope Moseley, is renovating his office while the institution faces a financial crisis stemming from unexpected costs and less than expected revenues. One of the costs mentioned by former  Chancellor Dan Rahn in a presentation to the UA Board of Trustees was the College of Public Health, which he said was underfunded from the start.

An official announcement of layoffs is anticipated soon.

UAMS earlier discontinued the PSYCH TLC program after the Department of Human Services pulled $500,000 in funding, Vice Chancellor Leslie Taylor said. That program was headed by Dr. Peter S. Jensen, who remains with UAMS, Taylor said. In a Dec. 20 letter to colleagues, Jensen wrote:

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that the UAMS state-funded PSYCH TLC program is losing its funding, effective December 31st. For the last 7 years this novel program has allowed all Arkansas primary care providers to call our hotline on a M-F 8am-5pm basis, in order to obtain immediate child psychiatric phone consultation and assistance in finding local mental health services for your pediatric patients with mental health needs. In addition, since January 2016 this program allowed us to provide intensive hands-on training to nearly 200 PCPs, enabling you to be effective "first responders" to many of these children and their families.
Because the PSYCH TLC service will not be available after January 1st, youw ill have to obtain mental health consultation and assistance by referring your children with mental health needs to local mental health providers and/or to local emergency rooms. We will work closely with the Arkansas Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance to determine what options might be available (or might become available in the future) for us or another service to meet your child mental health consultation and
training needs.

I wish to thank Mr. Darren Reeves, Ms. Ladeena Bell, Ms. Annette Snider, and Ms. Moshelle Helms who have all work closely with me to provide the PSYCH TLC Services over the last two years. 

The PSYCH TLC funding was part of $17.5 million in unanticipated expenses for the 2018 fiscal year, along with Accountable Care Organization set-up costs with Baptist Health to take care of Medicare patients and PASSE, the Provider-owned Arkansas Shared Savings Entity,  another multi-institution program to serve Medicaid patients with behavioral health and developmental disability needs.

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