Community Reacts to New Co-owners and New Name of Region 8 Hospital

July 1, 2004 -- Posted at: 3:00pm CDT

JONESBORO, AR - There's an old, familiarity to new co-owners of a Region 8 hospital. The announcement was official at midnight. Regional Medical Center of NEA is now NEA Medical Center.

Those in the medical community that we spoke with were hesitant to give their opinion, but most residents believe it's a good thing for the area.

Frank Brunner said, "Yeah. I think it's fine. I think it's a progressive step for Jonesboro."

Under the merger, Triad Hospitals, Incorporated of Plano, Texas continues to control 60% interest in the hospital, while NEA Clinic gains 40%.

It's the 4th time in 3 decades that the hospital has had new owners.

Craighead County Judge Dale Haas said, "I guess the biggest thing from our perspective is that the hospital remained open."

The hospital was built by Craighead County in 1976. The last transaction took place on December 1st of last year when Triad bought it from Tenet Healthcare Corporation of Santa Barbara, California. That purchase also included the sale of hospitals in Hot Springs, Russellville and Searcy.

"It has a tremendous impact not only on our health needs, but it provides over 400 jobs," added Haas.

The new hospital board will consist of 5 Triad representatives, the CEO of NEA Clinic, as well as 4 NEA Clinic physicians. The familiarity that those doctors have with patients and with the community is what many see as one of the major benefits to the purchase.

Theresa Chrystal, a Jonesboro resident said, "I like NEA Clinics. Their name is familiar around here. We sure use them a lot. We were just there yesterday in fact, so I guess it would be a good change; a good name opener."

Those NEA Clinic physicians who currently practice at St. Bernards Medical Center will continue to do so. As for the hospital changes at NEA Medical Center, the only comment representatives at St. Bernards made is, "it's important that patients have a choice."

"Both of our hospitals are fantastic facilities, and we will continue to be the leaders in health in this part of the state," added Haas.