Arkansas Children’s CEO Marcy Doderer is leading an expansion of the pediatric hospital’s mission, while simultaneously preparing for the opening of a Northwest Arkansas facility and raising concerns about kids in the federal health care debate.
Doderer was a guest on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, where she first discussed the expansion of the long-time hospital’s focus. Arkansas Children’s recently added three words to an overhauled corporate logo.
“If you were to look at our logo, you would notice it actually says more than Arkansas Children’s. On the bottom line it says, ‘Hospitals. Research. Foundation.’ We still have Arkansas Children’s Hospital just a few blocks from here, it will always be here, it’s a great piece of who we are and why we exist,” Doderer said. “But our story is changing and so we are growing across the state. We are more than one hospital now. We want to ensure that the state understands we’re also here for research. We have a foundation, we’re clinics, we’re a care network, and so our brand is changing, so that the whole state understands, it’s not only Arkansas Children’s Hospital, it’s more than that.”
Still, a centerpiece for expansion is a multi-million dollar Northwest Arkansas campus that Doderer said is on track to open in January 2018.
“We will open clinics about the second week of January on that space and then in-patient soon to follow,” she said. Children’s is actively recruiting a senior management team and looking to staff future positions in a job market that has close to 3% unemployment and is flush with other healthcare providers.
“We’re all competing for some of the same people, but I believe we’ve got a story to tell. We attract people who come into healthcare not just because it’s a job, but really it’s a calling for pediatric healthcare, and I think that makes us different,” Doderer said.
Other initiatives underway at Arkansas Children’s includes the opening of a bilingual primary care clinic in southwest Little Rock, an expansion beyond sub-specialty care in Northeast Arkansas, and mobile dental outreach and school-based partnerships in south Arkansas and the Delta.
“We’ve always been a hospital. We’ve waited for the sick and the injured kids to come to us, and yet, at the same time, Arkansas has not moved the needle on child wellbeing, or child health. We rank 44th or 46th in the country, it depends on which survey you look at. So we’re trying to say: how do we get into all those communities? 710,000 kids, 75 counties, how do you find healthcare to get closer to where the kids live, where they learn, where they play, and what will make sense for that community?” she said.
Doderer was in Washington, D.C. last week to visit with the state’s two U.S. Senators, one of which – Sen. Tom Cotton – will be at the center of the healthcare reform debate.
Doderer said it’s incumbent to speak up for kids in the healthcare conversation. They don’t have an organized voice and they are major consumers of healthcare dollars. She says that children make up about 40% of those on Medicaid, but overall account for about 20% of healthcare dollars.
“We’re opposed to simply slashing Medicaid,” said Doderer. “We are absolutely about reforming the Medicaid solution for kids so that we can get better care with a better outcome at a much lower cost. I think the children’s hospitals have some ideas to talk about. I’ve shared those with Senator Cotton. I’d like to continue to help make sure he is well-positioned to represent our Arkansas kids at that table.”
Watch more of Doderer’s interview in the video below.