Benton County Hospitals Have Big Plans in ?04

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 123 views 

It’s obvious from construction and expansion plans at area hospitals that no matter the national forecast for the health care industry, it’s thriving in Northwest Arkansas.

St. Mary’s Hospital in Rogers plans to break ground this spring with its new $140 million hospital, and Northwest Medical Center of Benton County is having to expand its newly built $65 million hospital two years sooner than expected.

Susan Barrett, hospital administrator, said St. Mary’s plans a 500,000-SF hospital on 75 acres just across Interstate 540 from the Embassy Suites hotel in Rogers.

Nine teams have met three times a week at St. Mary’s for the last four months evaluating how different hospital departments function to help come up with design ideas for the new facility, Barrett said.

“Our priorities are really centered around the patient’s experience, patient satisfaction and patient safety,” Barrett said, emphasizing that the overall theme is on the latter.

In the 50-year-old St. Mary’s Hospital, the pharmacy is located in the basement, but in the new facility the pharmacy staff will be more mobile and will work throughout the building, Barrett said.

Computerized record keeping will put complete patient records at the bedside and eliminate a lot of chart storage, Barrett added.

Northwest Medical Center of Benton County, which opened in May and replaced Bentonville’s old Bates Hospital, will expand by 28 beds in a $7.9 million addition. Northwest Medical Center of Benton County is part of the Northwest Health System that also owns Northwest Medical Center of Washington County in Springdale and Willow Creek Women’s Hospital in Johnson. Northwest Health is owned by publicly traded Triad Hospitals Inc. of Plano, Texas.

Triad is a health care company with about 50 hospitals in 17 states, $3.54 billion in annual revenue and 28,000 employees.

The Bentonville expansion includes a second cardiac catheterization lab and a new medical intensive care unit with eight private patient rooms. The current intensive care unit will change to strictly surgical intensive care. Plans also include the addition of 20 private medical/surgical inpatient rooms, a nursing station and other support areas on the hospital’s unfinished fourth floor.

Construction is expected to begin in January and will take six to eight months. Additional staff will be hired when the expansion is complete.

Willow Creek Women’s Hospital also has big plans. Charles H. Long, chief executive officer, said a new medical office building will be built on the Willow Creek campus that will likely include new women’s imaging services. The neonatal intensive care unit at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale will eventually move to the hospital.

Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville anticipates completion of its 30,551-SF medical office building at the end of April. The $5.1 million building under construction next to the Walker Family Heart & Vascular Institute at WRMC will house the Northwest Arkansas Heart & Vascular Center, the WRMC laboratory department and educational meeting rooms.

WRMC opened a 36-bed acute care facility through Regency Hospital of Northwest Arkansas in November. The long-term care facility is located in the old WRMC building on Fayetteville’s North Street and College Avenue.

Plans for WRMC also include leasing more than 28,000 SF of the old building to the Veterans Administration for a veterans home. Remodeling is expected to be complete in 2005.