This pandemic has exposed significant problems and expanded the divisions in our communities. Families are struggling to make ends meet, businesses are facing an uncertain future, and doctors are going without many of the resources they need to combat COVID-19.
We need a comprehensive plan that addresses the immediate issues while fixing the broken foundation that magnifies the problems we’re dealing with right now.
Arkansas received $1.25 Billion from the federal government in the CARES Act. Resources of this magnitude don’t come around often. Let’s get this right by investing in the long-term health and quality of life for all Arkansans.
Joyce Elliott’s longstanding ties to the community, experience in the state legislature, and platform as a policy innovator on the congressional campaign trail put her in a unique position to chart a course for Arkansas in this crucial time.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) hospital system serves as the frontline in our state’s fight against the current health crisis. So many critical policies—the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Expansion, and protections for pre-existing conditions—can’t be implemented properly without supporting UAMS.
Long before COVID-19, UAMS has led our state in healthcare advancement. Nearly half of all physicians in the state and physicians in rural areas were educated at UAMS. Additionally, UAMS is at the forefront of innovation, producing advancements in medical technology and patient services. The UAMS medical system reaches every corner of Arkansas with positive and impactful services.
Healthcare workers and essential employees at UAMS are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19 and maintain normal healthcare operations, often without the protective equipment they need. Our state must invest $100 million in UAMS to support the system’s tens of thousands of employees as they work to keep our citizens healthy.
Investment in the UAMS system will go toward three areas of Arkansas’s healthcare response to COVID-19. Funding will be used to (1) address shortages of essential medical equipment in hospitals, (2) support important research capabilities in areas of testing and immunizations, and (3) continue training the next generation of Arkansas’s health professionals to serve in our cities and rural towns.
This $1.25 billion will address pressing health concerns, but it will also help rebuild and reignite Arkansas’s economy. Funding for UAMS results in long-term economic benefits. For every $1 of taxpayer money invested in the UAMS system, $24.50 is pumped back into the local economy. That turns into $2.45 billion—nearly double the total of the entire CARES Act coronavirus relief fund. Support for UAMS can address our crucial medical emergency while strengthening our long-term recovery.
We can't have people go back to work without a plan in place to protect workers. In addition to taking the necessary public health steps to stop the spread of COVID-19, Joyce proposes that we extend worker’s compensation to cover Arkansas public employees who contract COVID-19 on the job.
With a two-step strategy to (1) emphasize prevention strategies for workplaces and (2) increase investment in the state's worker’s compensation fund, we can support our public-sector workers and minimize the financial burden on the state fund. Our firefighters, public school teachers, UAMS workers, and all public employees have the right to be safe on the job.
As the private sector grapples with concerns of liability in this unprecedented business environment, this plan's approach to the public sector can serve as a blueprint for a possible solution.
In Congress, Joyce will fight to protect every Arkansas worker’s health and safety and support economic opportunity for everyone. This starts by using federal resources to back state-run programs such as the worker’s compensation fund in this time of great need.
No small business could be expected to have planned for COVID-19. In the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, we need to support the economic backbone of our communities.
With diligent oversight, the Arkansas Ready for Business Program should facilitate grants to provide a lifeline to Arkansas businesses. The program focuses on businesses with 25 or fewer employees to specifically address unexpected costs from the health crisis such as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitization supplies, and contactless payment technologies. This grant program will (1) allow small businesses across the state to reopen their doors, (2) put hard-working Arkansans back to work, and (3) ensure employees and customers can remain safe while business is open.
To date, the state has allocated $147.7 Million to the program. This should be increased to $200 Million to meet the present need of Arkansas businesses.
The time for inaction and ineffectiveness is over. In Congress, Joyce will be committed to supporting federal programs that ensure states can financially support small businesses through funds like the Ready for Business Grant Program. She will bring the concerns of small businesses in Arkansas straight to Washington.
Internet access has become a requirement of daily life, though we haven’t done enough to ensure every Arkansan has access to this vital public utility. The COVID-19 crisis has put a spotlight on the unequal internet access in Arkansas. We cannot afford to wait any longer to address this problem. Thousands of Arkansans lack access to telemedicine, critical health information, and economic opportunities that have moved online. Investing $100 million in rural broadband expansion will help the state determine the areas of greatest need in Arkansas and channel funding directly to these locations. Joyce's plan would establish a permanent fund to fast-track proposals for Arkansas companies to start building broadband capacity in rural and underserved urban areas.
Now is the time to work towards universal broadband. Investment of $100 million represents a first step that is long overdue.
One third of Arkansans live in rural areas. In Congress, Joyce will never back down from the challenge to uplift the needs and concerns of small-town America in this time of crisis.
As a lifelong educator and advocate for public schools in Arkansas, Joyce recognizes the critical decision facing our state in determining the safest way for our students to return to school. Before we send our kids back, Joyce is committed to implementing measures to protect students, their families, and their communities.
To accomplish this goal, Joyce plans to make funding available to address essential healthcare needs in all schools including adequate testing procedures, PPE, sanitizing stations, and comprehensive cleaning programs. All students must have access to safe and productive educational environments.
In Congress, Joyce will push to be put on the House Education and Labor Committee. She will use her 30+ years of experience in the field of education to safeguard the best interests of students across Arkansas by fighting for increased federal funding to help schools support local communities.
We have a duty to support every Arkansan who is impacted by this global health crisis. Our brave healthcare workers share this sense of responsibility as they provide care to all those affected. We must provide special aid to medical facilities willing and able to treat uninsured and underinsured pandemic victims. These crucial facilities must not be allowed to fail for serving communities in need.
Joyce’s proposal seeks to expand the successful Arkansas Works Medicaid program through the Arkansas Department of Health. The plan establishes an emergency medical fund that will directly support medical centers struggling in the face of uncompensated care losses from the COVID-19 crisis. The health of our state and viability of our healthcare system depend on significant financial support.
If elected, Joyce will fiercely support medical facilities in their efforts to provide high quality care to all patients. To effectively combat this virus, all those affected must be served. Joyce will work in Congress to direct funds to clinics and medical facilities like those in Arkansas that are putting the health of the nation above their bottom line.
Long before the pandemic, Arkansas’s rural hospitals and health clinics struggled to stay open. Over 1.1 million people (roughly one third of the total state population) live in rural areas in Arkansas. Additional funding is required to provide all Arkansans access to quality healthcare in this time of crisis, no matter where they live.
Investment must begin with support for the state’s 28 Critical Access Hospitals. Direct payments of $10 million (totaling $280 million) to each facility will support the only providers of emergency medical services in many rural areas.
The final $20 million would be distributed in $100,000 increments to the state’s 99 rural health clinics and 109 rural health centers. The services provided by these facilities are critical to providing all Arkansans, no matter where they live, with primary care and professional medical guidance.
In each case, this plan’s proposed funding distribution enables each medical institution to address their greatest needs that have arisen from the crisis. Federal aid must benefit Arkansans in every corner of the state.
In Congress, Joyce will be an outspoken proponent of investment in crucial rural healthcare services. Joyce’s small-town upbringing and lifetime of public service in Arkansas to support and advocate for the interests of our state at the federal level.