Earlier this month, Mercy invited Fort Smith business and civic leaders to a third Community Roundtable to engage in a conversation about the progress of our Community Master Plan.
Nearly 100 people attended the event to offer their thoughts and suggestions regarding the future of health care in our region. We were energized by the enthusiasm and insight provided on everything from physician recruiting to heath care access for those on Medicare.
This roundtable focused on what Mercy has accomplished so far on the Fort Smith Community Master Plan and what is still in the works. Hospital President Ryan Gehrig shared information about the work beginning on the $42 million Mercy Orthopedic Hospital at 79th and Phoenix. We are pleased to report that all the steel from the previous structure has been removed and crews are working on the foundation.
Mercy Clinic President Cole Goodman, M.D., talked about the brand new Mercy Clinic Dallas Street location. Six primary care physicians will start seeing patients there on October 29, providing expanded access to physician services from a new facility that offers a more patient-centered environment.
Looking to the future, information was shared about plans to build additional clinics and recruit 80 new physicians to the area in order meet the needs of our community. We also shared the challenges that come from the physician shortage we’ve faced for the last decade.
Then we asked for your input on putting our plans into action. We took thorough notes on what you told us. From those notes, some common themes emerged:
Each piece of the Community Master Plan was influenced by input from our community advisory group – dedicated local residents, from homemakers to small business owners to civic leaders. And each year since this plan was developed, we’ve invited Fort Smith leaders to meet with us and discuss our progress. We take that feedback seriously and you soon will begin to see our work toward implementing the feedback you’ve given us this year. We’ll keep you updated here, and we’ll report back to you at the Community Roundtable next year.