In response to the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare entities in Northwest Arkansas will receive more than $3 million in aid thanks to an initiative guided by the Northwest Arkansas Council and supported by several local business and philanthropic partners.
Combined financial and in-kind donations from Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Bentonville tech firm RevUnit, Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation are backing the effort.
“This joint effort demonstrates how the Northwest Arkansas community is coming together in a powerful way to respond to an unexpected crisis,” Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, said in a statement. “Support from these great partners will allow the region’s healthcare providers to continue to protect staff, patients and keep our community safe.”
The Northwest Arkansas Council, through its Healthcare Transformation Division, coordinated with providers to determine how the funds and supplies would be distributed.
Much of the funding will be used to increase testing capacity and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals across the region.
RevUnit created a web-based interface for regional hospitals to track existing cases, bed availability, status of testing and available supplies to ensure regional coordination and cooperation.
“Front-line health care workers across the country are working tirelessly and at risk of running out of supplies and PPE,” Eric Pianalto, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas president, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the coordinated effort by the council that will alleviate these concerns and allow our staff to effectively respond to the community’s health care needs.”
Funds are expected to ensure that acute care hospitals in Northwest Arkansas will be able to maintain a ready workforce and attempt to prevent furloughs of clinical front-line health care workers needed to treat patients infected with COVID-19.