Baptist outlines ‘day one’ services for new hospital

‘We are planing on having all services required by a hospital’

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

Justice Ronnie Sturch took the opportunity Monday morning to ask representatives for the new Baptist Memorial Hospital-Crittenden a question on the minds of many county residents — what services is the new hospital, expected to open in 2018, going to offer? Sturch wanted a list of services. Baptist Memorial Hospital System Executive Vice President Zach Chandler gave the answers to the Quorum Court. After expressing concerns forwarded to him by citizens that the new facility would simply be an emergency room, feeding patients to hospitals in Memphis, Sturch asked, “I am being asked by people I represent, what kind of services will the new hospital offer?” “This will be a licensed acute care hospital under Arkansas Law,” said Baptist Special Legal Counsel Dick Cowart. “We can’t tell you precisely how many operating rooms, endoscoptomy rooms, heart rooms, bedrooms until we have a plan. We are planing on having all services required by a hospital.” Sturch inquired specifically about a birth center and OB/GYN services. “We want to keep as much health care here as possible because that is what families, churches, and businesses want,” said Executive Vice President Zach Chandler. “There probably will be some GYN for outpatient services. But, to have a really good obstetrical program you have to have a certain critical mass. It may be in the future but not initially, because it takes a certain amount of professional building on the doctor side to get enough patients to stay here to run an OB program. It is not good to run an OB program that delivers under 1,000 babies a year. It is not safe. You’re talking about a baby; it’s got to be safe. Certainly any ED (Emergency Department) across the country is ready to deliver a baby, but not exactly where you’d want to be.” “What type of surgeries will be performed here?” asked Sturch. “We are going to provide everything the community can support. We’ll have general inpatient rooms to take care of medical and surgical patients,” said Chandler. “So a congestive heart failure patient, a patient that just had surgery for an appendectomy will be admitted, will have an operating room. It’s a long list of surgeries that could be done here. Everything a general surgeon would perform we will provide. You have an orthopedist in the community. We’d hope to offer orthopedic procedures. We have a network of 500 physicians, half of those are proceduralists. Our goal would be to provide coverage for those services here. “‘What would we not do?’ may be easier to answer,” continued Chandler. “Open heart surgery and things with the brain-neurosurgery — those are going to require more intensive kind of support than we will have here on day one.” Meetings with local doctors will ultimately determine available services. “It’s a partnership not just between the hospital and the community but with doctors,” said Chandler. “Doctors ultimately admit the patients. We’ll be meeting with doctors over the next few weeks. Part of this is what they are willing to do here.” The design of the building will stem from functions doctors require. “I have a meeting with the medical society here in town tomorrow night,” said CEO Jason Little. “We don’t want the facility to be a limitation. We’ll design it so we can add something like open heart if it is down the road to accommodate that expansion.”

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