Change In Store For Region 8 Hospital

July 3, 2007 - Posted at 4:51 p.m. CDT

POCAHONTAS-As he spoke to the Paragould Kiwanis Club Tuesday, Arkansas Methodist Medical Center's Vice President, Tim Woolridge, talked about the hospital's newly formed relationship with the Randolph County Medical Center.

"It was encumbered by being part of a for-profit company in a far away community. Now, those dollars will be reinvested in the services and staff and the opportunity to deliver healthcare in Pocahontas," said Woolridge.

After a vote by the community two weeks ago, it was decided that Arkansas Methodist would take over management of the facility in Pocahontas.

"I have really appluaded the residents of Pocahontas and Randolph County that have recognized and sensed the need to preserve their hospital, and to take it back and it be a community hospital," said Wooldridge.

The Medical Center had currently been in financial trouble after being bought by a company in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Arkansas Methodist hopes to turn things around.

"There are quality staff, quality people, and quality physicians in Randolph County. We think they need to be enabled. We think that community focus is what we are going to bring back," said Woolridge.

So what changes are in store for the Randolph County Medical Center?

"We really want to focus on the patient, and we want to make sure the staff is part of that. We think that will be one of the changes. Plus, we think there will be a different attitude, much like the one you find in Paragould. We are excited about the relationship," said Woolridge.

He says that relationship will continue giving back to the community.

"We think there needs to be a hospital there. Not one in which we mine or burn out the assets of it, or steer the patients from there. There needs to be a viable operating room, an emergency room, and those things in Pocahontas. Arkansas Methodist Medical Center is going to make sure that takes place," said Woolridge.

Arkansas Methodist is expected to begin managing the Randolph County facility sometime in September.

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