As part of its annual “State of the State” series, Talk Business & Politics recently interviewed ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson and Ray Hanley, president and CEO of the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care and a member of the ACHI Health Policy Board, about the state of the state in health care. Topics covered included the current omicron-driven COVID-19 surge, when the surge might peak, the chances for achieving herd immunity, the strain on hospitals, COVID fatigue, increased use of telemedicine, and the pandemic’s impact on Arkansas’s Medicaid system.
“[January is] going to be a pretty challenging month, and unfortunately, we’re going to have lots of folks get sick, and we’re going to lose folks that we could avoid if they had been vaccinated,” Thompson said.
The virus’ fast spread may hasten herd immunity, but other variants could follow omicron, he said.
“I think COVID is probably not going to ever completely go away, but I think we can be out from under this threat scenario that we are now … by the end of the year,” he said. “‘Normal’ is a loaded term. I think we may be able to be more relaxed.”
See more about the pandemic on our COVID-19 in Arkansas page.