One of Northwest Arkansas’ largest health care systems will invest $500 million over the next several years to expand its primary care and specialty services, add hundreds of new jobs and better meet the region’s needs close to home, it announced this week.
Mercy Northwest Arkansas’ plans include a state-of-the-art cancer treatment center and expansions to the emergency department and urgent care. New clinics and services for such specialties as primary care, women and children, and behavioral health are also on the way.
It’s the second phase of the not-for-profit system’s regionwide expansion, which kicked off in 2016 with a $300 million investment into new clinics and a new patient tower at the Mercy hospital in Rogers, among other changes.
“Phase 2 advances Mercy’s long-standing commitment to a growing Northwest Arkansas community and how we better serve patients in the way they want to experience personalized health care, close to home,” Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Arkansas, said in a news release. “This is also a continuation of our dedication to low-cost, high-quality care, a value we have provided Arkansas families and businesses for decades.”
Mercy is one of several health care providers in Benton and Washington counties growing their services and workforces as the region’s population continues to rise. A 2019 Northwest Arkansas Council study found many residents are forced to find specialists elsewhere, complicating needed care while also losing the region nearly $1 billion a year.
The Council’s Health Care Transformation Division has partnered with providers and other stakeholders to help find the roots of these shared concerns and address them.
“All of our health systems are growing, but they’re growing together to help to meet these common goals and challenges – hospital capacity, access to care and more specialized expertise in the area,” said Ryan Cork, who leads the Council division. “These new jobs will allow young men and women graduating from Northwest Arkansas programs to stay local.”