LITTLE ROCK – Liver transplant and internal medicine specialists at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) today announced creation of Arkansas’ first Liver Disease Referral Center to provide comprehensive care for the most serious liver conditions.
A new toll-free phone number, 1-866-91-LIVER (1-866-915-4837) will allow quick referrals of patients to the center by doctors around the state and region. The center is a joint venture of the departments of Internal Medicine and Surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine, in cooperation with UAMS Medical Center.
Expanding on the liver transplant program established in 2005, the UAMS Liver Disease Referral Center will provide seamless, team-oriented care for patients with critical liver problems. Through the center, liver specialists and surgical staff will coordinate care for patients, with procedures for efficiently accommodating candidates for a transplant and those with advanced liver disease and liver cancer.
“We are dedicated to improving our response and service to our referring physicians. The new Liver Disease Referral Center will allow us to do that and provide the best care to the sickest patients,” said James D. Marsh, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine.
“Providing comprehensive care for the most complex cases is the next logical step for our liver transplant program,” said Frederick Bentley, M.D., vice chairman for clinical affairs of the Department of Surgery and a specialist in liver, kidney and kidney-pancreas transplantation.
The center is augmented with the arrival of UAMS’ second liver disease specialist, James E. Rose, M.D., allowing more patients to be treated. Rose is a fellowship-trained transplant hepatologist who previously served as an attending physician in hepatology at Integris-Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
The concept was developed by Kevin W. Olden, M.D., director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology for the Department of Internal Medicine and the Levy Professor of Internal Medicine, and Youmin Wu, M.D., director of the UAMS Multi-Organ Transplant Program and professor of surgery.
“The center, with its seamless coordination between internal medicine and surgical staff and support services, allows us to treat patients in a manner that provides the most efficient care from evaluation to admission to surgery if necessary,” said Olden, who joined the UAMS faculty in 2006. “With the addition of a second hepatologist in Dr. Rose, we can expand our clinic times to care for more patients, which prevents them having to travel out of state for treatment.”
Wu joined the UAMS faculty in 2004 to establish a liver transplant program. On May 14, 2005, he performed the state’s first liver transplant. Since that time, 50 liver transplants have been performed at UAMS by Wu and Bentley, who joined the UAMS faculty in 2006.
The Liver Disease Referral Center will be located in the transplant surgery offices, with a clerk available to answer referral center calls. Calls, including after-hours calls, will be routed to the hepatology coordinator if the case concerns sickness from end-stage liver disease or to a transplant coordinator if the case is a candidate for a transplant.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit www.uams.edu.