Maldistribution of physicians is a major issue as both specialists and primary care physicians tend to be clustered around urban areas and indications are that many portions of the state lack capacity to absorb additional primary care demand. The vast majority of the state can access primary care within a reasonable amount of time, but access to a full complement of specialists is more problematic leaving large swaths of the state unable to access a full range of specialty care services in a timely manner. While there is a problem concerning access to a full range of specialty care services, access to acute care, defined as a city with at least one internist and one general surgeon is not as severe. Arkansas, for the most part, has adequate access to acute care services within a 1-hour drive-time.
The vast majority of Arkansans are within a reasonable drive-time to a primary care physician. However, many parts of the state lack capacity to absorb additional demand for primary care services that will follow from an extension of health care insurance to 250,000 low-income Arkansans through Act 1498 of 2013, which created the Arkansas Health Care Independence Program.