UAMS campus in Little Rock.

A message that went out to higher-ups at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Tuesday puts the brakes on new hires until the end of 2021 because of economic concerns.

“Over the past year, Team UAMS has done whatever it took to appropriately respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and protect and serve the people of Arkansas. This pandemic has put a financial strain on UAMS and organizations across the country. The financial environment remains uncertain due to the ongoing pandemic,” Danielle Lombard-Sims, a UAMS vice chancellor and chief human resources officer, wrote in an email that went out Tuesday afternoon.

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Until the end of the year, only divisions that are meeting or exceeding their revenue projections while also coming in under expense projections can hire new staff, Lombard-Sims said. Positions for nurses, medical residents, clinical lab support, supply chain, police, environmental services (a new-fangled term for cleaning in health care settings), and positions fully funded with grant money are exempt from the freeze.