Baptist Health-Conway

Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway opened five years Thursday and has seen steady growth since then.

Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway officially opened at 7 a.m. Sept. 16, 2016.

The facility’s first patient was treated 12 minutes later. Since that time, Baptist Health-Conway has expanded.

“Since opening, the hospital has experienced steady growth in critical areas,” President Tim Bowen said.

In the past five years, the hospital has treated 100,000 unique patients (meaning not repeat patients) with everything from lab tests or X-rays to major surgery.

“In a community with a population of around 65,000 that just shows the impact we have had on the entire region,” Bowen said. “One hundred thousand people have graced our doors and trusted us to provide health care for them.”

There have been more than 15,000 surgeries performed at the hospital in the past five years. Since the start of the pandemic, Baptist Health-Conway has conducted more than 14,000 COVID tests and administered more than 11,000 COVID vaccines.

The hospital opened in 2016 with 44 MedSurg beds and four ICU (intensive care unit) beds. It currently has 111 MedSurg beds and the ICU capacity has expanded to 14 ICU beds and eight intermediate beds, which are for patients who need extra care but not as much ICU.

“We have opened all units,” Bowen said. “All three floors are open and taking patients.”

In 2020, Baptist Health-Conway was designated a Level III trauma center. The Arkansas Department of Health has criteria a hospital has to meet to receive the designation, and ADH completes an on-site visit to validate the facility is meeting those obligations.

“For us, being located right off the interstate, we knew we needed to be a higher level trauma center,” Bowen said.

In the past five years, the Baptist Health-Conway Emergency Department (ED) has seen more than 120,000 visits.

“We’re really excited our ED continues to grow by leaps and bounds. We’ve put a lot of focus on it,” Bowen said, noting that all ED physicians are board-certified. “We have a great relationship with UAMS. Our physicians are top notch. We want people to seek us out for emergency care. The technology in that building is phenomenal.”

He said having “the latest and greatest” technology is important because it improves both the patient and the employee experience.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary, Baptist Health-Conway has activities planned all week. Each day this week, the hospital has had games and showed slideshows of photos from the past five years.

But it wouldn’t be a celebration without food, Bowen said.

On Thursday, the facility will have a cookout for the entire staff.

“We want to show our thanks to the devoted team members who make it all possible, especially the last 18 months, and doing it all with christian compassion in a faith-based organization,” he said.

The Log Cabin Democrat had interviewed Bowen when he took the helm in 2017. At that time, he said this was his dream job. When asked on Wednesday if that still rings true, he said “Absolutely.”

“It’s such a blessing,” he said. “I’m thankful to the community for all the support and trust they have placed in us. I’m thankful to the physicians, providers, the hospital staff. It’s absolutely still my dream job.”

Jeanette Anderton can be reached at janderton@thecabin.net.

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