Mercy will invest $500 million in the next phase of its health care expansion in Northwest Arkansas. Phase two’s projects will include a state-of-the-art cancer center, emergency department and isolation room expansion, additional clinic locations, more outpatient care facilities and nearly doubling the current number of primary care physicians and specialists.
“Phase two advances Mercy’s long-standing commitment to a growing Northwest Arkansas community and how we better serve patients in the way they want to experience personalized health care, close to home,” said Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Arkansas. “This is also a continuation of our dedication to low-cost, high-quality care, a value we have provided Arkansas families and businesses for decades.”
Mercy’s $500 million investment brings its total commitment to Northwest Arkansas to almost $1 billion in less than a decade. In 2016, Mercy announced the $300 million phase one, which included a 275,000-square-foot patient tower, 1,000 new health care jobs and primary care and specialty clinics in Benton and Washington counties.
In a region ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau as the sixth-fastest growing midsize metro area in the nation, Mercy’s continued growth is critical to its mission of meeting the needs of the community. The new $500 million NWA investment includes:
- A state-of-the-art cancer center
- An addition of more than 100 primary care physicians and specialists
- An expanded emergency department
- An expansion of isolation rooms
- Building out the top floors of the hospital to increase the number of patient beds to nearly 400
- New clinic locations
- Expanded services in primary care, neuroscience, emergency, women’s and children’s, orthopedics, gastroenterology and behavioral health
- Expanded ambulatory offerings to include urgent care, infusion and imaging
Mercy’s phase two delivers many resources that are needed to keep pace with the significant growth of the region, including the cancer center.
“We have been planning to add a comprehensive cancer center in Northwest Arkansas for many years,” said Dr. Scott Cooper, president of Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas. “Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way, and we need more cancer care resources in the region. Mercy provides faith-based, compassionate care close to home so Northwest Arkansas patients have the support of family and friends they need when receiving care.”
“Mercy continues to honor the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy, who arrived in Arkansas in 1850 to care for the sick and poor, by expanding access to health care in our region,” said Eric Pianalto, chief strategic growth officer for Mercy Arkansas. “My new role in strategic growth gives me the exciting opportunity to work with our leadership team to expand hospital services, clinic locations and recruit the primary care and specialty physicians we need to meet the growing demands of Mercy’s Arkansas communities.”
Mercy Northwest Arkansas has received a host of awards recognizing its service and commitment to patient care, quality and safety, including six straight As from the Leapfrog Group, top hospital by Fortune/IBM Watson Health and five-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Mercy’s recently completed projects in Arkansas include:
- A $141 million, seven-story hospital tower in Rogers that provides space for expanded neonatal care, the McMillon Family Heart Unit, additional pediatric care and more
- A multispecialty clinic in Springdale with a 24-hour ER
- Six clinics in Northwest Arkansas
- A 22-bed dedicated orthopedic and spine unit
- A new inpatient rehabilitation unit
- Expanded neurology care for patients in both Northwest Arkansas and Fort Smith
- A $162.5 million emergency room and intensive care unit expansion underway in Fort Smith (expected completion date in late 2024)
- A rehabilitation hospital in Fort Smith
- A $42 million orthopedic hospital in Fort Smith, featuring 24 beds and 24-hour patient care
“Community support is extremely valuable for plans like this,” said Clark Ellison, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation in Northwest Arkansas. “Mercy will pursue philanthropic partnerships with community leaders, businesses, foundations and friends, and together we will further enhance community access to state-of-the-art equipment, technology and programs for families across the region. This initiative is a transformational opportunity that we believe the community will want to support. So, we welcome additional contributions that will help us meet the needs of the community even beyond what is currently planned.”
Mercy, one of the 20 largest U.S. health systems and named the top large system in the U.S. for excellent patient experience by NRC Health, serves millions annually with nationally recognized quality care and one of the nation’s largest Accountable Care Organizations. Mercy is a highly integrated, multi-state health care system including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient and urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 physicians and advanced practitioners and more than 45,000 co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.