The Alice L. Walton Foundation and the Washington Regional Medical System announced a partnership on Monday to create a regional health system to expand local residents’ access to specialty care.
The partnership builds on a joint initiative announced last year between the foundation and the Cleveland Clinic that aimed to assess ways to provide access to the clinic’s specialty care services in northwest Arkansas, according to A press release.
A study shows that many residents are leaving the area to seek specialist care, the statement said.
“This partnership is about access, ensuring residents of our thriving region have easy access to world-class healthcare services, including specialty care,” said philanthropist and Walmart heiress Alice Walton. .
The partnership brings together three organizations with unique strengths “to deliver a broader reach and scale of services to our region and beyond,” Walton said.
Specialty care services involve healthcare specialists with knowledge or skills about a specific condition. Solutions to expand availability in northwest Arkansas may include cardiac care, digestive health, neuroscience, oncology, orthopedics and behavioral health, the statement said.
“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,” said Larry Shackelford, president and CEO of Washington. Regional Medical System. “Our mission is to improve the health of area residents through compassionate, high-quality education in care and wellness, and to act as a hub for clinical, educational and research activities. in northwest Arkansas. This partnership provides the resources needed to take our healthcare services to the next level to better serve our growing community.”
This year, the foundation will work with Washington Regional to establish next steps, according to the release.
In addition to training healthcare workers in the region and supporting research at Washington Regional, the organizations will work with the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences, “infusing whole health principles into clinical, educational and operations of this new health care system,” the statement read.
“It’s critical that our health care 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.”
Walton announced the creation of the Whole Health Institute in January 2020 and plans for the Whole Health School of Medicine in March 2021. Both Bentonville organizations aim to reform health systems to make holistic health more accessible.
The Washington Regional Medical System is a locally run, community-owned, nonprofit organization located in northwest Arkansas.
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit, multi-specialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the hospital was named the No. 2 hospital in the nation in US News & World Report’s 2021-2022 rankings.