Columbia Closer to Plans

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 92 views 

David Vandewater, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.’s president and chief operating officer, reiterated last week in Little Rock what other Columbia officials have said in past weeks: There likely will be something concrete in the way of a Northwest Arkansas hospital for Columbia, or a plan for one, in the next few weeks.

Tom Corley, president of Columbia’s Lone Star/Arkansas Division, recently said, “We’ll do something in Northwest Arkansas. We’ll announce something about that in the next couple of months.”

Columbia could align, merge with or buy a hospital in the region. More likely, however, the company will take the approach it has unveiled recently in central Arkansas.

Columbia revealed plans to build a $60 million, 80-85-bed hospital and physicians office in the Springhill area of North Little Rock near where Baptist Health is also building a hospital. Columbia also has an option on a piece of land in west Little Rock where it might build a similar structure to the one planned for North Little Rock. And negotiations remain under way for Columbia to buy Southwest Hospital in Little Rock.

Vandewater told the Rotary Club of Little Rock Chapter 99 on July 8 that Columbia must have access points “for consumers to get to us.” He says the company’s focus is the central and northern parts of the state. “We must build, buy or both. Likely we’ll do both.” These include smaller hospitals or surgery centers.