Mercy said Monday (Jan. 9) it has hired 32 doctors and specialists toward its goal of hiring 100 as part of a $500 million expansion plan in Northwest Arkansas. The expansion is geared to meet the region’s growing population.
The $500 million plan would double Mercy’s regional primary care physicians and specialists and build out the Rogers hospital’s top floors with some additional clinic locations.
“Phase two of Mercy’s expansion in the Northwest Arkansas community starts with the addition of one of the most important elements in patient care – more physicians and advanced practice providers,” said Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Hospitals Arkansas for the St. Louis-based health system. “The speed with which we have already hired a third of that goal in just six months demonstrates our dedication to meeting the health care needs of our community.”
The U.S. Census Bureau ranks Northwest Arkansas as the sixth-fastest growing mid-size metro in the country. The Northwest Arkansas Council also identified the need for the development of sub-specialty areas, including cardiology and oncology.
“While Northwest Arkansas residents have incredible access to high-quality and low-cost primary care, deficits in specialty care causes a loss of nearly $1 billion each year to the region’s health care economy due to outmigration,” said Ryan Cork, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s healthcare transformation division.
The Council reported the shortage of doctors in these areas continues to force local residents to seek care outside the region.
“We have identified where we intend to fill the gaps in specialty care for the region, and we have made significant strides in hiring top-tier talent within the first six months of our multi-year expansion plan. Much more is on the way,” said Dr. Scott Cooper, president of Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas. “The simple fact remains that heart disease and cancer remain the top two leading causes of death in Arkansas, and we must address those core needs in addition to primary care. We all know someone who has been impacted by these diseases, and our community deserves the necessary resources to be treated with compassionate care close to home with the support of their family and friends nearby.”
Eric Pianalto, chief strategic growth officer for Mercy Arkansas, said the physicians that Mercy recently hired address the needs for primary care, neurosurgery, hematology, urology, psychiatry, orthopedics, gastroenterologist and pulmonology.
“We have also made a few hires in cardiovascular care. As Mercy moves closer to creating the infrastructure needed to expand cardiac and oncological care, our recruitment team will bring in the talent to address our greatest areas of need in the region,” Pianalto said.