Baptist Health Plans for Growth with New Hospitals in Conway, Malvern

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 12:00 am  

The Arkansas Hospital Association hasn’t studied whether a second hospital is needed in Conway, said Paul Cunningham, executive vice president of the association. But he said that if Baptist has concluded that there’s a need, there probably is one.

“Baptist has been around a long time,” Cunningham said. “I’m sure they can document that not only do they believe that there’s a need there, but they can make a go of it.”

Baptist didn’t have a price tag for the hospital because the construction plans aren’t final, Harrington said.

Baptist has already spent $10.6 million to acquire the 37 acres on the west side of Interstate 40, near Exit 129, where the 200,000-SF Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway will sit. It is expected to have seven operating rooms and employ 425 workers.

Baptist will pay for the hospital with a bond issue that will be paid off by patient revenue, Harrington said.

Meanwhile, Baptist is working with a group of doctors on the hospital project. Dr. Benjamin Dodge of Conway is chairman of a steering committee of nine physicians representing the Conway physicians.

“We feel Baptist Health understands the current health care environment and through collaboration has created an excellent avenue for area physicians and Baptist Health to align their goals, roll up their sleeves together, and get down to the business of creating a great hospital,” he said in a November news release that announced the hospital.

Harrington told Arkansas Business that the doctors have already been in on discussions about the planning and design of the hospital. That collaboration will continue once the hospital is open. “We expect they will perform a key role in day-to-day operations,” Harrington said.

Hot Spring County

Hot Spring County Medical Center reached out to Baptist Health in 2012.

CEO Sheila Williams told Arkansas Business in April that she began pursuing a partnership because of looming government reductions. The hospital was facing revenue reductions of $12 million during the next decade just from Medicare alone.

Harrington said he agreed to work with HSC because it would help both the hospital and Baptist.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.