Conway Regional Will Explore 'Affiliation' with St. Vincent

by Lance Turner  on Thursday, May. 1, 2014 1:11 pm  

Conway Regional Health System's east entrance. (Photo by Conway Regional Health System)

"Their proposal not only accounted for our desire to continue delivering compassionate care to our communities, but was also respectful of the important role we have as a community-based health system," Jim Lambert, Conway Regional's president and CEO, said. "Obviously there are many details to work out from this point, but we feel positive about the possibilities of harnessing our collective strength."

Conway Regional is the latest health system to explore a possible affiliation. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and St. Vincent Health System spent much of the last year pondering an agreement, which the two ultimately scuttled.

And in an unrelated deal, St. Vincent's parent, Catholic Health Initiatives, acquired Mercy Hot Springs hospital and physician clinic and put both under St. Vincent's control.

In October, Conway Regional cast the national trend toward hospital affiliations as a response to health care becoming "the target of federal and state regulations and funding cuts." It said the move is intended to ensure that its health system remains "well positioned in the future to provide health care services for Faulkner County and the north-central Arkansas area."   

Conway Regional operates a 154-bed acute care nonprofit medical center, an outpatient imaging center, an outpatient surgery center, Conway Regional Rehabilitation Hospital and several primary care clinics.

St. Vincent is the second-largest health system in Arkansas. Having completed its deal for Mercy Hot Springs on April 1, it now has four hospitals in the state, with other locations in Sherwood, Morrilton and Little Rock. It also has a rehabilitation hospital in Sherwood.

Baptist Health of Little Rock is the state’s largest health care organization. Once the Conway hospital opens, it will have 10 hospitals in Arkansas. In an interview with Arkansas Business in January, President and CEO Russell Harrington Jr. said Baptist is considering adding more primary care clinics and working with other hospitals in Arkansas to "enhance quality and reduce costs."



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