Arkansas Children’s CEO says NW Arkansas poised for more growth, shares plans for additional state reach

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 231 views 

With the wild success of fundraising in Northwest Arkansas for an Arkansas Children’s Hospital campus, CEO Marcy Doderer says there are a number of additional initiatives underway to expand children’s health services in nearly every corner of the state.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Doderer said that the Northwest Arkansas campus is being built with future growth in mind.

“We designed the campus thinking not just in the next 5 or 10 years, but really looking out 20 or 30 years,” she said.

At last week’s Children’s Hospital fundraising gala in Northwest Arkansas, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said the region is on pace to grow to more than 1 million residents over the next 15 years.

“If that is really the pace of growth, we will have to accelerate our plan for expansion,” Doderer said. “The building we’re designing is easily expandable. We’re actually building it such that we can grow, we can build without disrupting services that are open.”

Children’s Hospital has successfully secured commitments for $53 million of its $70 million capital campaign for a facility in Springdale. Doderer says community leaders view it as an investment.

“Our goal was to be at around $45 million by this time and just the generosity of spirit of the folks up there has been tremendous,” she said. “I would say, they really see it as an investment. It’s not a gift to charity to them. It really is investing in their communities, it’s investing in their families, and it’s investing in their businesses. It’s a great recruitment for the big businesses there.”

However, Doderer said there is much more at work in rural parts of the state and in the capital city.

“Seventy-five counties, over 75,000 kids. How do we get pediatric care close to home for all of them? The answer is not easy, but there’s a few things that are happening that I think you’ll see play out pretty shortly,” Doderer said.

She noted:

  • A USDA grant of more than $600,000 for telemedicine units in 42 rural schools statewide. It will connect school nurses with pediatricians at Children’s Hospital in real time.
  • The program will test this fall in Benton before a larger statewide rollout to school districts with fewer than 5,000 kids.
  • A mobile health unit that will travel in south Arkansas to provide services in rural communities without significant pediatric care, but Doderer said further donations are needed for the project.
  • Negotiations with the city of Little Rock to announce a new primary care clinic in southwest Little Rock by the end of August.

Watch her full interview in the video below.

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