Sparks Regional Medical Center

Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith is the oldest hospital in the state, founded in 1887, and the fifth largest.

In 2010, the 249-bed facility generated revenue of $737 million. It employs more than 1,600 and serves an 11-county area in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma that reaches more than 350,000 people.

Sparks Regional Medical Center is part of the Sparks Health System that includes the physicians and clinics of Sparks Medical Foundation; the Sparks Development Foundation, which is responsible for philanthropy efforts; a managed care organization, Sparks PremierCare, and Summit Medical Center, an acute-care hospital in neighboring Van Buren.

Founded by the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, Sparks began as St. John's Hospital and later merged with City Charity to become Belle Point Hospital. In 1908, local philanthropist George Sparks bequeathed $25,000 to the hospital in honor of his late wife, and the name was changed to Sparks.

In 2009, Sparks helped form the AOK (Arkansas/Oklahoma) Healthcare Consortium, consisting of 11 regional hospitals. Melody Trimble is CEO of the Sparks system.