Baptist Health of Arkansas: Dedicated to Wellness, Driven by Purpose

In late 1920, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention purchased the former Little Rock Sanitarium property in downtown Little Rock to build a new hospital to serve the state of Arkansas and began temporary operations in the sanitarium building. On February 16, 1921, the Pulaski County Circuit Court incorporated the Baptist State Hospital, giving the hospital official standing as a legal entity.

Although the original hospital opened its doors with less than a hundred beds, the small building served 1,315 patients during its first year of operation. From the humble beginnings of Baptist State Hospital through the 100 years it has taken to become the Baptist Health system we know today, the purpose has remained the same—to create a healthier community through Christian compassion and innovative services.

Healthcare has changed significantly since the hospital first opened. During the 1920s, patients were charged $2 per day for ward beds and $4.30 for a private room with the fees including “all ordinary medicines, surgical dressings, rooms, meals and services of floor nurses and interns.” The operating rooms cost $10 for major surgical cases and $6 for minor cases.

As new treatments and technologies developed, Baptist Health remained committed to providing cutting-edge care, including:

  • The first eye bank in Arkansas
  • The first “blue baby” heart surgery in the state
  • The first psychiatric unit in a private Arkansas hospital
  • The state’s first cobalt therapy unit in a private hospital
  • The state’s first open-heart surgery done in a private hospital
  • The first heart transplant surgery in Arkansas
  • The first hospital in Arkansas to perform single site robotic surgery


Today, Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive healthcare organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals, urgent care centers, a senior living community, and over 100 primary and specialty care clinics in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The system additionally offers a college with studies in nursing and allied health, a graduate residency program, and access to virtual care through a mobile app. Baptist Health, as the largest not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, provides care to patients wherever they are through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians, and community outreach programs.

Baptist Health will improve the health of Arkansans by changing the way healthcare is delivered.

Baptist Health exists to provide quality patient-centered services, promote and protect the voluntary not-for-profit healthcare system, provide quality health education, and respond to the changing health needs of the residents of Arkansas with Christian compassion and personal concern.

Baptist Health is more than a business –– it is a healing ministry. Our healing ministry is based on the revelation of God through creation, the Bible, and Jesus Christ. At Baptist Health, care of the whole person ­­–– body, mind, and spirit –– is an expression of Christian faith. We are instruments of God’s restorative power and are responsible for giving compassionate care.

In fulfilling our mission, we place special emphasis on the values of service, honesty, respect, stewardship, and performance.


Quality service is the foundation of any successful business and is even more essential in the provision of healthcare. Our success is dependent on each employee’s desire and commitment to serve others.


Adherence to the moral values of fairness, integrity, and honor in all relationships is a major priority.


All people are to be treated as individuals with courtesy and thoughtfulness. Respect for each person’s dignity and worth is essential. Patients are to be treated with concern and compassion.


We prudently commit our resources, using our talents and strengths in an effective and efficient manner. Our facilities and equipment are maintained with pride.


Desired characteristics of Baptist Health employees include initiative, dedication, talent, and knowledge tempered by common sense. The highest possible performance from all employees is expected, but never at the expense of our values. It is imperative that complacency and mediocrity be avoided through innovation and progress.