The nonprofit Alice L. Walton Foundation (ALWF) in Bentonville and the Washington Regional Medical System in Fayetteville plan to create a new regional health system that will also involve the world-renowned clinic in Cleveland.
Walton, philanthropist and only daughter of Walmart Inc. founders Sam and Helen Walton, and her foundation announced a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic last summer. Their goal is to improve access to specialty care in Northwest Arkansas, including cardiac care, digestive health, neuroscience, oncology, orthopedics/spinal, and behavioral health.
Building on this announcement, the foundation and Washington Regional announced on Monday (April 25) their intention to develop operational strategies for their new partnership and finalize their next steps by the end of the year.
When asked if the partnership would lead to new facilities, a spokeswoman representing ALWF and Washington Regional said it was too early in the partnership to determine future developments. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
“This partnership is about access, ensuring residents of our thriving region have easy access to world-class healthcare services, including specialty care,” Walton said in a statement. “We bring together three organizations with unique strengths – including Washington Regional’s excellence in serving this community, the innovative care of the Cleveland Clinic, and my foundation’s focus on improving access – to offer a wider reach and scale of services to our region and beyond.
Founded in 2017, the Alice L. Walton Foundation works to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities by providing access to offers that improve well-being. In 2020, she announced the formation from Whole Health Institute in Bentonville. Last year, Walton announced the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Bentonville. Both focus on redesigning the systems that impact health and wellbeing to make holistic health accessible and affordable.
“It’s critical that our healthcare system focus on the whole person — body, mind, and spirit — to truly serve the community and improve health and well-being,” Walton said. “Through this new partnership, we have the opportunity to take a transformative and innovative approach that can improve health outcomes now and pave the way to a healthier tomorrow.”
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit, multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.
According to a press release, the goals of the foundation’s partnership with Washington Regional will be to:
- Increase access to specialty care services that will allow patients and families to receive innovative care closer to home.
- Expand clinical services to reflect growth in the Northwest Arkansas region.
- Building a regional health system that emphasizes the delivery of high quality services for the whole person across the continuum of care.
- Strengthen the transformation towards value-based care in the region to ensure high quality and affordable care for the community.
- Develop a partnership with the Whole Health School of Medicine to establish a regional academic health system in northwest Arkansas.
- Train the next generation of clinicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and caregivers in the region.
- Strengthen the research capabilities of the Washington Regional Medical System.
“The creation of the regional health system will advance our mission and vision, including expanding our clinical, academic and operational capabilities and continuing to invest in our facilities,” Washington Region CEO Larry Shackelford said in a statement. the press release. “Our mission is to improve the health of area residents through high quality, compassionate care and wellness education and to act as a hub for clinical, educational and research activities in the northwest Arkansas.
“This partnership provides the resources needed to take our health care services to the next level to better serve our growing community.”
The impact of the ALWF/Washington Regional partnership on other health systems and providers in the region is uncertain.
“The culture of collaboration between health systems and providers in Northwest Arkansas would help ensure the region benefits from additional health resources,” the partners said in a joint statement.