As many are aware, there have been a number of changes in medical staff members at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center recently. Some of these changes are planned retirements, while others are recent developments. Therefore, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide information to the community we serve since these changes impact many patients.
In recent months, several physicians have announced they are leaving NARMC. Obviously, we are disappointed in these departures; however, we understand and appreciate the various situations that cause physicians to make career changes, just like any other career. We respect their choices and must adapt accordingly.
The NARMC approach to actively build an employee physician group began in 2012, and we took that step in order to ensure our community would have access to quality care. We strongly believe without being proactive with physician and clinic provider recruitment, our community would be in a dire situation with the number of healthcare providers located in our market. In the past four years, we have recruited 23 physicians and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to NARMC, and of those, five have left or have announced they are leaving the organization.
NARMC’s goal of providing quality healthcare remains the same, and we are going to take advantage of the current staffing changes to make NARMC stronger and more resilient. We continue to assess the immediate needs of both staff and patients. We recognize the critical need for family practice and pediatric providers and have two physicians scheduled to join NARMC in the coming weeks. Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, family practice, will be joining us August 13, and Dr. Ashley Merrick, pediatrics, will start September 4. The process to bring these providers to NARMC was extensive and has been underway for the past year. We are aggressively recruiting physicians and are currently in discussions with a number of candidates. Although the recruitment process takes time, we will continue to recruit new physicians to our market.
Therefore, we are shifting our clinic models to allow for more APRN professionals to work in partnership with our staff physicians. This approach is common throughout the U.S., and we feel will benefit both patients and providers. To that end, we are aggressively recruiting APRNs to join the NARMC team with Angela Layton-Hyden and Caleb Kasper joining the MediQuick team earlier this month. This concept centers around the importance of prompt patient care, while maintaining the level of care that is both deserved and expected.
In addition to the impact we are facing with the staff adjustments, we are also facing growing pains. We have a number of NARMC services that continue to grow and are setting record volumes. With growth, the need for clinic space is imperative. We believe this growth is a testament to the trust patients continue to have in NARMC. We appreciate that vote of confidence from the community and will continue to work to earn that trust as we move forward with facility growth plans.
Change is never easy and this is one of those times. All patients who are currently working with an NARMC healthcare provider can be assured they will continue to receive top quality care. If you have a question or need to schedule an appointment, please contact your current clinic. The highly-trained front office team at each clinic will be able to assist you.