Something major appears to be happening in Fort Smith, and it involves the sale of Sparks Regional Medical Center to Baptist Health of Little Rock.
The price tag could be around $100 million, but Whispers couldn’t determine if the deal is for the Fort Smith hospital alone or for Sparks Health System, which also includes Sparks Medical Center-Van Buren.
Baptist spokesman Mark Lowman said in an email that “regarding your question on Ft Smith, Baptist Health is constantly evaluating opportunities to partner with other health care providers and communities. We do not have anything at this time to announce.”
(That’s what is known in the news business as a non-denial denial.)
The spokeswoman for Sparks Health System referred questions to its parent company, Community Health Systems Inc. of Franklin, Tennessee. Community Health spokeswoman Tomi Galin didn’t return a call or email for comment.
The Fort Smith medical center, with more than 400 beds, would be Baptist’s 10th hospital in Arkansas and its first in the northwest part of the state.
Sparks’ Fort Smith hospital reported $264.4 million in net patient revenue for its fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2016, the latest figure available to Arkansas Business. That year it had net income of $31.2 million.
Sparks-Van Buren reported $17.7 million in net patient revenue and a loss of $874,902 for calendar year 2016.