St. Bernards expands into Missouri with urgent care center

by George Jared (gjared@talkbusiness.net) 356 views 

The largest employer in Jonesboro is set to expand its operations into southern Missouri. St. Bernards will open an urgent care center in Kennett, Mo., starting July 1. The move comes after Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center announced it will close on June 30, St. Bernards CEO Chris Barber told Talk Business & Politics.

The hospital announced in May it would close, and the situation is fluid, Barber said. A job fair was recently held and many employees at the hospital applied, he said. How much the project will cost, and how many people will be hired has not been formulated.

“We’re excited for them to come on board … we’re excited to help provide essential services in that area,” Barber said.

The center is located at 1312 First Street in Kennett. Hours of operation will be designated and services ranging from stitches to minor surgeries will be performed at the facility, according to the healthcare system.

An estimated 23,000 patients seek treatment in the region each year, Barber said. Kennett is close to the northern Arkansas border, and a lot of residents in the city seek medical care in Jonesboro, he said.

Twin Rivers had suffered from financial problems for several years, according to KAIT. The hospital had been slated to close July 31, but the financial woes were too great. Many services are already being shutdown as the closure looms, the television station reported. The hospital employs 300 people.

Barber said they’ve looked at real estate and the organization isn’t sure about a permanent building. Several local officials have talked about a possible sales tax increase in the future to fund a hospital, but nothing has been set in stone, he said. St. Bernards will lease the building for the urgent car center.

St. Bernards employs about 2,800 workers in its system, the most in Jonesboro followed by Arkansas State University with 2,400. St. Bernards is in the midst of a massive renovation project. The $137.5 million project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, and will increase the building space on the campus by 25% to 1.026 million square feet. Four years ago administrators decided to formulate a plan to renovate and streamline services, he said.

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