Delta Memorial Hospital (2006), Dumas, AR

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COMMUNITY IMPACT

The Delta Memorial Hospital, based in Dumas, Arkansas, has a long history of providing quality health care services to residents living in rural communities, throughout the Arkansas Delta. Over time, local leaders recognized the challenges facing their small, not-for-profit hospital: facilities were outdated, cutting-edge equipment was lacking, and patient capacity needed to be increased. Without major improvements in these areas, the hospital would have to close. Since the next nearest medical facility is more than 45 miles away, closing the hospital would have been devastating to this distressed community, marked by a 23% poverty rate and 12.5% unemployment rate. Despite the area’s economic hardships, the community rallied to keep the Dumas hospital and passed a $9.9 million bond measure to help pay for an upgraded building and medical equipment. Construction began in 2005, but the $9.9 million was not enough to complete the project, and the hospital faced a $2.5 million financing gap. That’s when community leaders and local bankers called on Hope Enterprise Corporation (HEC), a local community development entity, which provided $2.5 million in NMTC financing to complete the project. When the new hospital opened its doors in 2006, patients had access to new facilities, the latest in medical equipment, and much-improved specialty clinics. Evidence of the importance of Delta Memorial Hospital came soon after its re-opening when a tornado ripped through Dumas, laying waste to much of the town. Injured residents were rushed to Delta Memorial Hospital’s new emergency room for treatment, which remained in full operation thanks to new back-up generators. The hospital also provided critical communication links when other communications systems failed. CEO of Delta Memorial Hospital, Jim Fairchild recalls, “I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if it were not for the new medical facilities and equipment at Delta Memorial Hospital, we would have had a much greater tragedy that day.” The success of the Hospital continued. In 2007, Delta Memorial Hospital developed Delta Medical Supply to address the medical supply and equipment needs of area residents. It also developed a hospital-owned group medical practice, Delta Health Services, to address the primary health care needs of area residents.

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