Baptist Hospital Medical Center – Stuttgart opened in 1957 under the name Stuttgart Memorial Hospital. In 2009 the facility became a part of the Baptist Health system.
Baptist Health-Stuttgart is fortunate to be one of the few growing healthcare facilities, serving the people of Arkansas County.
The hospital is supported by the 1% city sales tax.
“Last year that money was $2.3 million,” said Kevin Storey, vice president for BHMC in Stuttgart and Heber Springs. “That money goes towards supporting the hospital operationally and buying equipment.”
According to Storey, small hospitals in the United States are in danger.
“Over 1,000 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, with 2 in Arkansas in 2019,” said Storey. “A lot of our hospitals in Southeast Arkansas are in danger right now, even with tax support.”
Storey adds many changes out of their control are financially affecting hospitals in the state such as Medicaid changes and inpatient services that are being mandated to outpatient services such as knee and hip surgeries.
“You’re seeing smaller hospitals really struggle,” said Storey. “Smaller hospitals make money when people are admitted to the hospital.”
BHMC-Stuttgart is the 9th largest employer in Stuttgart averaging $17.65 million in salaries and benefits. The 61-year old building’s daily operational cost averages $80,169.
Many renovations have already taken place and more will begin in 2020.
“When you have a building that’s 61-years-old you have to replace a lot of equipment,” said Storey. “A new CT Scan is coming this month.”
Completed projects include new flooring in many areas of the hospital, installation of LED lights at entrances, replacement of trauma lights in the ER, Outpatient Physical Therapy in the hospital, new hospital signs, new clinic space near hospital, new clinic space near the emergency room, and security services after hours and on weekends.
“There is more and more violence in healthcare. In Heber Springs one of my nurses was assaulted by a family member on the hospital floor,” said Storey. “These things happen and we’re trying to keep it safe, not just for our employees, but for the families that are in the hospital.”
So far the changes have made a dramatic improvement to the hospital.
Since moving the outpatient physical therapy to the hospital, the volume has jumped up to 32% according to Storey. “It’s a lot more convenient to have it here,” he said.
Technology upgrades have also been made including a digital high-definition surgical and GI scope system, fetal monitoring equipment and coagulation analyzers.
Future upgrades to happen in 2020 include replacement of hospital and specialty clinic signage, renovated CT Scanner Suite, replacement of medical gas alarm system and nitrous manifold system.
The new CT scanner will feature a full cardiac package with a very fast, low dose radiation. It will have a larger capacity table and a large bore.
Virtual colonoscopies will be coming in the near future to join the variety of new services already offered by BHMC such as the total joint program and stress echocardiogram testing.
With all the upcoming changes, Storey emphasizes on the quality care that BHMC-Stuttgart strives to provide.
In conclusion, the most important part BHMC states they can do is to always provide their patients, their family members and visitors with the care they deserve right here at home.