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

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

Last week, Baptist began operating the hospital under the new name Baptist Health Medical Center-Hot Spring County.

The county owns the hospital’s building and the property, and HSC leases the space from the county. Baptist entered into a long-term lease agreement with the hospital.

Harrington said the hospital now could save about 15 percent on supplies by using Baptist Health’s supplier.

Harrington also said the move helps Baptist expand its territory and builds relationships with physicians in the area who refer patients to Baptist Health hospitals.

Baptist’s goal, however, isn’t to be the only health system in the state.

“That’s certainly not something we’re trying to do,” Harrington said. “It’s still a free market, [and] competition is important.” But he said he thinks it will become common for hospitals to form partnerships to keep a lid on costs and improve health care.

The Arkansas Hospital Association’s Cunningham said smaller, regional hospitals are trying to form partnerships because of the lower government payments and health care reform. He said, however, that he didn’t know of any Arkansas hospitals currently in talks to form such partnerships.

Still, Harrington said hospitals have to learn to adjust to the Affordable Care Act, which won’t be fully implemented until 2019.

“It brings about new things every year,” he said. “It is a period of great uncertainty. … It’s just a tougher environment than it’s been for many years.”



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