From the quiet hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
The state has allocated millions of dollars to purchase ventilators for people who develop serious symptoms of the coronavirus.
The funds are also available for face masks and other protect equipment that our medical providers so desperately need.
They’re on the front lines of this battle, and it’s our duty to make sure they have the tools they need to protect themselves and the public.
The sad thing is that we’re competing against other states and other countries. A few days ago, Arkansas officials thought they had finalized an order for 500 ventilators.
However, at the last minute we learned that New York was willing to pay double the asking price of $19,000 per machine.
Fortunately, we still have time until the demand for hospital treatment reaches a peak. We have about 800 ventilators now, and probably will need about 1,000 in the future.
Our public officials are working overtime to prepare us for the scenario we’ll be in a month from now.
Another important step we’ve taken is to streamline the licensing process for physicians who are completing their residencies and about to enter the medical field.
The state Medical Board has added 100 new physicians this month, and the state Board of Nursing has expedited the licensing of 300 new nurses.
From the Capitol, it is always my greatest honor and most sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.