UAMS Sees Improvement, Ends Embryo Storage


UAMS Sees Improvement, Ends Embryo Storage
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, seen here in Little Rock, is reporting far better financial health in the 2019 fiscal year. (Amanda Cordell)

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has seen much improvement in its financial vital signs.

For its fiscal year that ended June 30, the system, which includes the state’s only teaching hospital, has reported operating income of $3.4 million. The previous year, UAMS reported an operating loss of $79.3 million and for its fiscal year that ended in 2017, the operating loss was $86.4 million. (The operating income includes total operating revenues and expenses, including “depreciation and amortization.”)

UAMS’ operating revenue during the most recent fiscal year was $1.625 billion, a record. Its total operating expenses were $1.621 billion, though, also a record.

One of the drivers of the improved financial health was a 5.7% increase in net revenue from patient services, to $1.3 billion.

UAMS ended the fiscal year with a bottom line number of nearly $40 million, and that’s following a $15.5 million deficit for the fiscal year that ended in the middle of 2018.

Leslie Taylor

“The financial turnaround UAMS has experienced compared to FY 2018 has been phenomenal,” UAMS spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said in an email to Whispers. “This has allowed us to grow programs to better serve all areas of the state, utilizing technology like digital health and adding clinics like orthopaedics in Northwest Arkansas under UAMS Health, our health system.

“It has also bolstered our work with other providers to address issues like the shortage in physician residency positions across Arkansas,” she said.

In 2018, UAMS submitted its first balanced budget in several years to the UA Board of Trustees for FY 2019, Taylor said. “We submitted a balanced budget again for the current year, FY 2020, which began July 1.”

Fertility Changes

Speaking of UAMS, did you know that it recently decided to stop handling complex fertility treatments, effective Dec. 31?

“The decision was not a financial one but was one made through careful examination of our missions of education, research and clinical need in our state,” Taylor said.

She said UAMS wants to use its resources to take care of the women “who need us most.”

UAMS has had a partnership with Arkansas Fertility of Little Rock since 2004, when UAMS closed its own in vitro fertilization program. At that time, UAMS also stopped accepting frozen embryos for storage.

There are still “a few” frozen embryos left at UAMS, Taylor said. “We will contact everyone who has continued over the last 15 years to pay us to store their embryos to see if they would like to transfer them to Arkansas Fertility or another facility,” Taylor said.

Arkansas Fertility provides a large clinical basis for UAMS’ missions and will continue to serve in that role.

“This decision will not affect our current patients,” she said.