A Northwest Arkansas health-care provider will spend $247 million to make major expansions over the next five years.
The announcement by Mercy Northwest Arkansas means the region will see 1,000 health-care jobs, a new patient tower on the Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas campus in Rogers, and multiple new primary and specialty care clinics established in at least four Northwest Arkansas cities.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Rogers Mayor Greg Hines and Mercy Northwest Arkansas leaders participated in Wednesday’s announcement that was attended by more than 250 people on the hospital’s campus.
“Our hospital and clinics have been serving the community at a very high capacity,” said Mercy Hospital President Eric Pianalto. “To ensure we carry out our mission and continue to meet the needs of Northwest Arkansas, we developed this $247 million community presence plan that will allow us to serve our patients into the future by providing additional access to quality care and advancing the region as a health care destination.”
Major investments and capital plans are being make in Northwest Arkansas to better serve the region’s fast-growing population.
Little Rock-based Arkansas Children’s Hospital last summer, for example, announced plans for a 24-bed Northwest Arkansas children’s hospital on a 37-acre campus in west Springdale. Additionally, Washington Regional Medical Center is progressing on its 133,000-square-foot, five-story tower that’s the centerpiece of a women’s health services expansion, and it should be complete late this year.
The Mercy Northwest Arkansas expansion plans, which are detailed on a special webpage set up by the health-care provider, include:
- The 190,000-square-foot patient tower that will take Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas from 200 beds to more than 300 beds. Construction, which should start in December or January, will accommodate future inpatient growth, with the goal of 360 beds.
- Multiple new primary care and specialty clinics. Two will be in Bentonville, one will be in west Bella Vista and another will open in Pea Ridge. Three more are in Mercy’s long-term plans.
- The creation and recruitment of health-care jobs, including physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses and other health-care workers.
- Enhancements to the hospital’s areas of specialty care, including the heart and vascular center and women’s and children’s services.
- The establishment of a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences community internal medicine residency program in partnership with the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. The program will provide training to eight doctors in its first year, growing to 24 doctors in three years.
“Having more clinics and recruiting new doctors and advanced practitioners to Mercy will allow our patients to get care close to home,” said Dr. Steve Goss, president of Mercy Clinic. “Our intent is that these expansions will positively impact the health and wellness of the community.”
Already underway are several additions: (1) a hybrid cardiac catheterization lab that provides technology for advanced heart procedures not currently being performed in the region; (2) an interim renovation of the neonatal intensive care unit; (3) renovation of the seventh floor to provide the addition of 24 inpatient beds; (4) a 500-space parking lot.
Led by input from the community, a core team of Mercy leaders and the Mercy Northwest Arkansas board of directors developed plans for the expansion by studying population trends, community health outcomes and needs and access to care.
“Mercy has a deep history in this community and we are committed to meeting the needs of its people,” said Wayne Callahan, chairman of the Mercy Northwest Arkansas board of directors. “To fulfill the mission entrusted to us by the Sisters of Mercy, we want to continue to increase access and improve facilities so that we may serve the people of Northwest Arkansas for generations to come.”
Philanthropic support from the community has also been key to Mercy’s success.
"We look forward to continuing to work with community leaders in the near future to determine the scope and role of philanthropy for this multifaceted and dynamic project," said Karen Roberts, executive vice president and general counsel of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas vice chair and chair-elect.
Sister Anita DeSalvo said the expansion serves to further Mercy’s mission. “At Mercy, we answer God’s call to foster healing, act with compassion and promote wellness for all persons and communities, with special attention to our neighbors who are poor, underserved and most vulnerable,” DeSalvo said.