Dr. Steven Collier, a native of Augusta, helped form the nonprofit White River Rural Health Care Inc. in 1986 to provide medical services at a discounted rate. It was renamed ARcare in 2010. Today, the company has nearly 700 employees and 46 clinics serving 13 counties in Arkansas and eight counties in Kentucky. It also partners with the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith and the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine in Jonesboro to hire faculty as contract physicians.
Collier earned his doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock and his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Following his graduation from UAMS, he completed an internship at what is now Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff.
Dr. Steven Collier has been ARcare’s CEO for 15 years.
What message have you sent to Arkansas’ congressional delegation about the future of Obamacare?
I have expressed to them that we want to be a part of providing access to health care to Arkansans. Obviously, we can’t control a lot of what will or will not occur in Washington with respect to health care. All we can control is our ability to adapt and participate in whatever system is in place. I make sure they know that we are committed to doing our best to work within the system we’re given. Our delegation knows the role we play in providing access to underserved areas, and they’ve all been willing to participate in extensive dialogue on how to accomplish this.
Do you believe implementing a single-payer system would help the United States address the rising costs of health care?
Not at this time. I think there is still much analysis and evaluation that need to be done … I understand some of the arguments for a single-payer system, but I just don’t think we’re there yet.
What role should providers like ARcare play in battling prescription drug abuse?
We have policies and procedures in place for our providers and our patients that seek to mitigate this growing problem. Further, we operate substance abuse clinics at our Little Rock and Cabot sites. We take our role in the fight against prescription drug abuse very seriously, and I’d like to think we’ve had some small successes in helping folks battle their addiction.
What is the top health care reform you’d like to see?
Ideally, we’d have a system where every Arkansan was covered by some type of insurance product. I’d like to see an environment where physicians and providers would have fewer regulations placed on them, so that their only focus would be on serving their patients. I also think a system that continues to encourage patient involvement in their own health care plan is important.
What is your leadership style?
My leadership style is to empower the employees at ARcare and give authority to people who can get the job done. We’ve established a very team-oriented culture … I sincerely feel that it is my responsibility to continue to try to inspire [ARcare employees] as they continue to serve our patients long into the future.