Mercy Northwest Arkansas announced plans Wednesday to invest nearly a quarter-billion dollars on capital projects and equipment over the next five years. The expansion in health care facilities and services comes with the creation of 1,000 new health care jobs. Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended the special announcement, along with Mercy and Northwest Arkansas leaders, on the north side of Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas campus in Rogers.
“Our hospital and clinics have been serving the community at a very high capacity,” said Eric Pianalto, Mercy Hospital president. “To ensure we carry out our mission and continue to meet the needs of Northwest Arkansas, we developed this $247 million community presence plan that will allow us to serve our patients into the future by providing additional access to quality care and advancing the region as a health care destination.”
Among expansion plans in the early stages are:
- A new patient tower that will take Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas from 200 beds to 300-plus beds. Construction will accommodate future inpatient growth, with the goal of a total of 360 beds.
- Addition of multiple primary care and specialty clinics in Benton County and north Washington County.
- Creation and recruitment of new health care jobs, including physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses and other health care co-workers.
- Enhancements to the hospital’s already robust areas of specialty care, including the heart and vascular center and women’s and children’s services.
- Establishment of a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences community internal medicine residency program in partnership with the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. The program will provide training to eight doctors the first year, growing to 24 doctors in three years.
“Having more clinics and recruiting new doctors and advanced practitioners to Mercy will allow our patients to get care close to home,” said Dr. Steve Goss, president of Mercy Clinic. “Our intent is that these expansions will positively impact the health and wellness of the community.”
Already underway are several additions: (1) a hybrid cardiac catheterization lab that provides technology for advanced heart procedures not currently being performed in the region; (2) an interim renovation of the Level IIIA Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to better serve our smallest patients; (3) renovation of the 7th floor to provide the addition of 24 much needed inpatient beds; (4) a 500-space parking lot expansion.
Led by input from the community, a core team of Mercy leaders and the Mercy Northwest Arkansas board of directors developed plans for the expansion by studying population trends, community health outcomes and needs and access to care.
Wayne Callahan, chairman of the Mercy Northwest Arkansas board of directors said, “Mercy has a deep history in this community and we are committed to meeting the needs of its people. To fulfill the mission entrusted to us by the Sisters of Mercy, we want to continue to increase access and improve facilities so that we may serve the people of Northwest Arkansas for generations to come.”
Mercy is dedicated to carrying out its mission to deliver compassionate care and exceptional service. In doing so, Mercy has committed close to $400 million over the last 20 years. Philanthropic support from the community has also been key to Mercy’s success.
"We look forward to continuing to work with community leaders in the near future to determine the scope and role of philanthropy for this multifaceted and dynamic project," said Karen Roberts, executive vice president and general counsel of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas vice chair and chair-elect.
Sister Anita DeSalvo said the expansion serves to further Mercy’s mission.
“At Mercy, we answer God’s call to foster healing, act with compassion and promote wellness for all persons and communities, with special attention to our neighbors who are poor, underserved and most vulnerable.”
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.