Baptist Health Sets Opening In Conway

Baptist Health Sets Opening In Conway
The Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway will open in September. (Rendering courtesy GSR Andrade Architects)

The $150 million Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway will start taking its first patients at 7 a.m. on Sept. 16.

The hospital will open with a fully functioning emergency department and an eight-bed intensive care unit, Joanie White-Wagoner, the vice president and administrator for the hospital, told Arkansas Business last week.

It also plans to open 24 of its 88 inpatient beds on the first day, and more beds will become available as the patient volume increases, she said.

The Women’s Center at the three-story hospital is expected to open in the middle of November, but an exact date hasn’t been set.

White-Wagoner said the hospital should be fully operational in the first quarter of 2017.

Construction began on Baptist Health-Conway in the summer of 2014. The 264,000-SF, 111-bed hospital is on the west side of Interstate 40 in Conway.

The construction cost is $80 million. The architect on the project is GSR Andrade Architects Inc. of Dallas, and the contractor is CDI Contractors LLC of Little Rock.

As of last week, Baptist Health had hired 304 employees for the first day; when the hospital is fully staffed, it will have between 450 and 500 workers, White-Wagoner said. She worked with colleges and universities in central Arkansas to recruit health care workers to the hospital, White-Wagoner said.

The hospital will practice an interdisciplinary team approach to health care. In the model, a hospitalist, nurse and possibly other health care workers meet and discuss a patient’s case.

The practice “helps improve communication between the health care team as well as keeping that patient and family member fully involved and fully engaged,” White-Wagoner said. The strategy seeks to improve health care while reducing length of stay and readmission rates.

Baptist Health, which has eight other hospitals around Arkansas, named White-Wagoner as the head of the Conway hospital in January. She had been the chief operating officer and administrator of Texas General Hospital near Dallas.

White-Wagoner said her management style will be hands-on and she uses a team approach. “I’m not afraid to help change that bed or do that spreadsheet,” she said. “I don’t ask anything of my staff that I wouldn’t do myself.”