St. Bernards Healthcare has officially leased Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas, renaming the facility St. Bernards Five Rivers. The lease agreement, which took effect on February 25, means St. Bernards will manage the hospital while still allowing the city of Pocahontas to retain ownership of the facility.
The lease is on a year-to-year basis, St. Bernards spokeswoman Kila Owens told Talk Business & Politics. The Pocahontas facility employs up to 145 workers, she said. St. Bernards will pay $1 per year on the lease.
“We look forward to advancing the care offered at St. Bernards Five Rivers,” said Chris Barber, president and CEO of St. Bernards Healthcare. “Working together, we are able to build something bigger and better than two organizations working independently. The Olivetan Benedictine Sisters who started St. Bernards 118 years ago originally began their ministry in Pocahontas, so we are embracing the opportunity to continue that legacy of Christ-like healing.”
Through the lease agreement, patients at St. Bernards Five Rivers will have direct access to St. Bernards Healthcare’s network of specialists and sub-specialists. Specialty providers will also be visiting the Pocahontas community to see patients.
St. Bernards Five Rivers offers acute inpatient care, intensive care, emergency services, diagnostics and radiology, surgery, and IV therapy, as well as rehabilitation services and senior behavioral health care. Improvements to the facility by renovation and modernized interior improvements will be ongoing throughout the first year.
“When I first heard St. Bernards was considering becoming involved with Five Rivers, I knew how positive this would be for our community,” said Keith Sutton, Mayor of Pocahontas. “I want every citizen in this city to trust and utilize our healthcare provider. Knowing we have a trusted institution like St. Bernards involved means less worry for all of us here in Pocahontas, as well as less travel to bigger cities.”
With the Five Rivers lease, St. Bernards Healthcare now has four hospitals in its network – the flagship facility in Jonesboro, St. Bernards Medical Center; St. Bernards CrossRidge Community Hospital in Wynne and a management relationship with Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Walnut Ridge.