Baptist Health Celebrates One Year in Western Arkansas

FORT SMITH, Ark. – This month, Baptist Health celebrates a year of providing quality health care to residents of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

Nov. 1 marked the one-year anniversary since Baptist Health officially assumed operations of Sparks Health System’s two hospitals in Fort Smith and Van Buren, plus affiliated clinics in the area.

Employee celebrations were held Thursday to recognize the momentous occasion with new permanent signage for both hospitals as well as refreshments and gifts for employees.

Baptist Health leadership also noted progress made over the last year, such as returning the state’s first hospital to its roots of being a not-for-profit organization and adding a faith-based focus in all facilities.

Baptist Health-Fort Smith and Baptist Health-Van Buren will continue their anniversary celebration by providing free flu shots for adults from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 18-22 at various Baptist Health locations across the area. To find a list of locations, visit

This year, Baptist Health also expanded its reach into the community by participating in more than 80 events and impacting nearly 9,000 residents. More than $20 million was invested in people, equipment and technology for its facilities in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

“More than anything else Baptist Health has done, the past year has been an opportunity to bring hope back into the community and the organization, and show that Baptist Health is an owner-operator that is really focused on patients and how to serve the community,” said Harrison Dean, president of the Baptist Health Western Region.

As Baptist Health plans for 2020, Dean said increasing access to care and recruiting physicians to this area will be a primary goal.

“Physicians are in scarce supply, and there’s a tremendous opportunity here as far as patients needing their services,” Dean said. “Our focus is to recruit across many specialties to meet the needs in the region.”

Over the last year 11 providers were added to the medical staff of Baptist Health in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Baptist Health also opened a satellite clinic to provide additional specialty services to residents of Crawford County and an urgent care clinic with extended hours in Fort Smith.


Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 200 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 anytime, anywhere. 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. For more information about Baptist Health, visit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.