More than 200 people gathered on a beautiful fall day to celebrate a new destination for health care in Fort Smith. After more than two years of planning and construction, the 24-bed Mercy Orthopedic Hospital opens to patients on Monday, October 6. The facility is thoughtfully designed to cater specifically to patients in need of total joint replacement.
Baby boomers (the generation born between 1946 and 1964) are an estimated 76 million strong – about 26% of the population. As these Americans grows older and enjoy longer life spans, the need for orthopedic services is increasing. Health care think tank Sg2 estimates the number of inpatient orthopedic procedures done in Arkansas will increase by 22% in the next five years.
“These are otherwise healthy patients with a knee, hip or shoulder that is slowing them down,” said Keith Bolyard, MD, medical director of Mercy Orthopedic Hospital. “Since this hospital is geared specifically to them, we’ve been able to design a place that will get them back on their feet faster than ever. No one wants to undergo surgery, but this will streamline the process offering them one place to go to for all their needs from pre-op testing to post-op rehab.”
The Mercy Orthopedic Hospital is unique to the region and represents not only greater access to care for those in the community but also an opportunity to attract patients from outside the area.
“This is a true health care destination for patients in need of elective total joint replacement,” said Ryan Gehrig, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith president. “It will provide a positive economic impact on the community. In addition to the approximately 100 people that will be employed here, many more will come to the area seeking the services offered.”
The 69,000 square foot hospital is two stories and attaches seamlessly to the existing surgery center.The hospital’s first floor includes:
• 10,138 square foot outpatient rehabilitation clinic with a therapy pool serving more than 100 patients per day
• Pre-operative screening area where patients will come prior to surgery for a physical, EKG, x-ray and lab screening
• Surgery waiting and registration
• Café serving breakfast, lunch and a light dinner with seating for 50 and patio dining available.
The second floor consists of:
• 24 fully-furnished patient rooms designed for the comfort of post-surgical patients
• Shell space for 12 additional beds bringing the potential hospital capacity to 36 beds
• Waiting/vending area for families
Mercy Orthopedic Hospital is part of Mercy’s $192 million community master plan. The plan is designed to recruit and retain doctors, build infrastructure and upgrade technology. The goal is to ensure patients are able to stay close to home for medical care instead of having to travel out of the community for services.