Shortly after midnight, Baptist Health assumed operations of Sparks Health System, which includes approximately 1,600 employees across hospitals in Fort Smith and Van Buren as well as affiliated physician clinics in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.


“This is an energizing and exciting day,” said Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm around Baptist Health aligning with the outstanding reputation of this team of dedicated physicians and caregivers. We hope to compliment the quality of care that the River Valley has come to expect.”


In July, Baptist Health entered into a definitive purchase agreement with Sparks Health System. That transaction was finalized Nov.1 after regulatory, legal and operational due-diligence examinations.


Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith is a 492-bed acute-care facility and will now be called Baptist Health-Fort Smith. Sparks Regional Medical Center in Van Buren is a 103-bed acute-care facility and will bear the name Baptist Health-Van Buren. These two medical centers will increase the total number of hospitals to 11 within the Baptist Health system.


For more than 125 years, Sparks has been a trusted part of the community, serving more than 350,000 people in an 11-county area. Baptist Health will look for ways to preserve the Sparks name and heritage on the campus.


“I’m humbled to think of the opportunities we have for the state’s first hospital in Fort Smith joining Baptist Health, the state’s largest and most comprehensive health-care system,” Wells said.


Baptist Health is committed to its heritage of being a faith-based organization, whose foundation is rooted in Christian principles and focus is providing high-quality care while responding to the health needs of communities throughout the region.


The addition of hospitals and clinics in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma will broaden Baptist Health’s vision to change the way health care is delivered. As we serve more people, Baptist Health will continue to provide faith-based health care that strengthens communities we serve and encourages healthy lifestyle changes, which is consistent with our belief that we are more than a business — we are a healing ministry.


A grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration is planned for both hospitals on Nov. 13.


About Baptist Health


Baptist Health is an Arkansas-based, locally owned and managed, not-for-profit, and faith-based health-care organization. Baptist Health is also Arkansas’ most comprehensive health-care organization with approximately 11,000 employees operating 11 hospitals. For more information about Baptist Health, visit the website at baptist-health.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.