Funding Agreement Among 3 Banks Backs Heart Hospital Buy

A $65 million interstate funding agreement is backing the recent majority buyout of west Little Rock's Arkansas Heart Hospital.

The financial package is divided among Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma, $35 million; Arvest Bank of Fayetteville, $20 million; and Summit Bank of Arkadelphia, $10 million.

AR-MED LLC, led by Bruce Murphy, bought the 70.3 percent stake held by MedCath Corp. of Charlotte, N.C. Murphy was part of a group of 15 doctors who owned the remaining 29.7 percent in the 112-bed facility at 1701 S. Shackleford Road.

Murphy relinquished his medical license to comply with new federal laws regarding hospital ownership by doctors, so he could become full-time CEO and administrator.

"The only other option was for MedCath to sell to another out-of-state entity that wouldn't understand the community, this state and how to best serve the people here," he said. "Our name says Arkansas Heart Hospital, and now we can say that is more true than ever."

Opened in 1997 and later expanded, Arkansas Heart Hospital operates six catheterization labs, three operating suites and 24-hour emergency center.