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Mercy Northwest Arkansas has hired 32 new physicians and advanced practice providers over the past six months as part of an ongoing $500 million expansion in Northwest Arkansas.

The milestone marks quick progress in the not-for-profit health system’s plan to bring on 100 new primary and specialty care providers who can help meet the region’s growing needs. The expansion will also include building out the top floors of the hospital and adding new clinic locations, Mercy announced last summer.

“By ultimately adding 100 new primary care and specialty health care providers, we will effectively double the number we had at the time we announced this new phase of expansion,” Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Hospitals Arkansas, said in a written statement. “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 midsize metro area in the country. A 2019 Northwest Arkansas Council study found many residents are forced to find specialists elsewhere, making it more difficult to get necessary services while also losing the region hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

“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 health care transformation division. “Mercy’s commitment to provide more specialty care services and physicians will not only make it easier for residents to receive appropriate medical care and treatment locally but also bring those dollars back into the region’s economy.”

Health systems throughout Northwest Arkansas, including Washington Regional and Northwest Health, have been growing their services and workforces as a result. Mercy’s current expansion takes over where the first phase, a $300 million investment into new clinics and a patient tower at Mercy’s Rogers hospital, left off.

“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,” said Dr. Scotty Cooper, president of Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas.

“Much more is on the way.”

Special thanks to our major investors for their support of the Northwest Arkansas Council and our work in the region: