DRA investing to provide healthcare training opportunities in Southeast AR

DUMAS — The City of Dumas will receive a major investment in resources to provide training for employees at the Delta Technology Education Center (DTEC), Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced Thursday.

This investment of $175,000 will fund a partnership between the Greater Delta Alliance for Health and the Delta Technology Education Center to implement the Delta Tech Regional Healthcare Education Program providing quality training and skills development to health professionals in southeast Arkansas.

The Arkansas Delta is plagued by healthcare shortages for many reasons, including a lack of trained healthcare professionals and training opportunities for those employees. Through this investment, DTEC will contract with GDAH to organize trainings needed to allow the DTEC to offer certification and continuing education courses relevant to healthcare workers throughout southeast Arkansas.

The GDAH will organize train-the-trainer classes for DTEC staff and local hospital personnel, empowering DTEC to continue to provide support to healthcare workers in six counties — Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Desha, Drew and Lincoln. The train-the-trainer model enlists experienced personnel to show a less-experienced instructor how to deliver courses, workshops, and seminars. This instruction then builds a pool of competent instructors who can then teach the material to other people.

“Well-trained healthcare professionals help to support a healthy workforce, a growing economy, and thus a stronger Delta region,” Chairman Masingill said. “This investment in Southeast Arkansas’ local health centers will help to strengthen the training for our health center employees, improving the skills of our workforce and increasing access to quality healthcare for our rural communities.”

With updated training programs available in the area, improved recruitment of healthcare professionals will help to alleviate physician shortages throughout the Arkansas Delta, as well as assist the DTEC in becoming financially self-sufficient in the future as they receive payment for training fees.

“Under the current conditions, these healthcare service providers are struggling to meet the needs of their residents due to the lack of medical professionals, lack of training, and financial shortfalls,” explained Mellie Bridewell, Executive Director of GDAH, and Sammye Owen, of DTEC Board of Directors. “This initiative will work with local higher educational institutions in the region to provide local classes and training to hospital staff as well as develop a centralized workforce pool to retain and recruit healthcare providers to the region.”

The GDAH will utilize other institutions and organizations in the region to provide a comprehensive offering of courses. Training topics will include, but not be limited to: Insurance Education, Medicaid/Medicare Education, HIPAA training, Health IT, Safety Training, Infection Control, Electronic Medical Records, Medical Ethics, and additional continuing education opportunities.

The Delta Technology Education Center and the Greater Delta Alliance for Health recognize that collaboration is key to improving the health and educational outcomes in their community, according to Bridewell and Owen. This project is a critical step to insuring that our local hospitals can meet the financial challenges of the changing health care industry.

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that is congressionally mandated to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. Through twelve cycles of federal investment, the Authority is helping to create and retain more than 41,000 jobs and has leveraged $2.7 billion in other public and private investment.