(Hot Springs, AR) November 19, 2014 — National Park Medical Center broke ground Tuesday, November 18, on a 67,000-square-foot expansion project that will create a standalone heart and vascular center of excellence and renovate and provide additional space for the existing emergency department.

The new facility will be built immediately west of the current hospital on about 9 acres of land situated between Hollywood Avenue and the Hot Springs Country Club golf course.

Jerry Mabry, president of Capella Healthcare’s Arkansas Market, said prior to the groundbreaking that plans for the expansion have been in the works for about two years and the groundbreaking is a “notable occasion for us.” Paper groundbreaking

“The expansion will provide folks with immediate, greater access to an excellent cardiology program. In fact, I feel it’s the best cardiology program in this region,” he said, noting that the hospital is not only a major economic contributor to the county and surrounding areas, but also contributes to the excellence in the health care delivery system that it has developed over the years.

The initial expansion will cost $25-26 million, Mabry said, but adjunct plans that include annual capital investments will push the investment even higher over a three-year period.

While the expansion won’t increase the number of beds from the present 166, it will specialize those beds, especially in the area of cardiology, Mabry said.

Mandy Golleher, director of marketing and volunteer services, said the project will double the capacity of the existing emergency department and add a stand-alone cardiology center of excellence featuring the latest heart care technology in one location for all the hospital’s advanced heart care services.

Mabry told the crowd assembled for the occasion that, aside from the economic factors the facility will provide, “this is where excellence will be housed.”

“We have a large compliment of specialists, physicians, and hospital personnel who dedicate their lives to being better and providing better care for you and the public. This facility is what health care is about — the way we conduct ourselves with our funds, being good stewards of how we approach the health care delivery system, about making life better for you and your children,” he said.

Mabry said the policy of Franklin, Tenn.-based Capella Healthcare, the hospital’s parent company, is to reinvest 100 percent of its excess cash flow back into its hospitals in the form of equipment and expansions, which ultimately builds better health care for the community.

Joe Dierks, chairman of the NPMC Board of Directors and CEO of Greenleaf Financial, said the hospital’s leadership team, physicians, staff and board of directors have committed to continuously increasing the health care services and specialists available in the Hot Springs area.

“Having served on the board for many years, I’m proud of the progress and improvements National Park Medical Center continues to make in the health care climate of Hot Springs. I’m proud to be part of that commitment and honored to be part of the groundbreaking on the next phase of growth for NPMC,” he said.

He said Tuesday marked the beginning of the construction phase of the expansion project, which will ultimately mean more and better health care services available to the community, more jobs available to area residents and more financial stimulus to the area by making more services available.

“For those of you who have had the opportunity to have received care at this hospital, you know they live their slogan, ‘Caring Comes First, Always.’ The level of individualized care and dedication to each individual patient’s well-being really sets this facility apart. They always put the patient first and that’s why this expansion is so important,” Dierks said.

By streamlining the emergency department and making all the health center services located in one convenient location, the patient experience will be even more improved, making the care process even better for the patient, he said.

“I congratulate the team at NPMC on the construction progress and I look forward to the continued growth at NPMC for the betterment of the Hot Springs area,” he said.

General surgeon and NPMC Chief of Staff Robert Breving said it was “exciting being part of the NPMC family.”

“We’re doing great things here and today breaking ground on a beautiful, state-of-the-art expansion, which will provide additional medical services to a community, add new and advanced state-of-the-art technology, decrease patient suffering and save more lives,” he said.

Other reasons to celebrate is that the expansion will create new clinical and nonclinical jobs for local residents, employ Arkansas construction companies, and increase the revenue to the local tax base, Breving said.

“We are expanding while other hospitals are laying off employees, reducing services and closing their doors. We’re adding on to our facility, recruiting new physicians, and creating jobs for Arkansans, all while maintaining profitability,” he said.

“There is nothing that makes my blood pump a little faster than seeing a bulldozer sitting here ready to go, and gold shovels ready to go in the ground,” said Jim Fram, president and CEO of The Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Fram said health care is one of the targeted industries the chamber works to bring into the community, and “we’re very proud today to celebrate this expansion by National Park Medical Center.”

“In addition to being a target industry we try to recruit jobs from and create new capital investment in our community, they continue to be one of Hot Springs’ and Garland County’s and the region’s major employers. This institution provides a lot of folks who use their volunteer time to be leaders in our community to make it better,” Fram said.