Saline Memorial Hospital Completes Partnership


Benton, AR.  (July 1, 2016) -- Officials at Saline Memorial Hospital announced today that the previously announced partnership between the hospital and RCCH HealthCare Partners became effective at 12:01 am on July 1, 2016. Earlier in the year, the Board of Directors of Saline Memorial Hospital unanimously voted to create a public-private partnership that will help to ensure the continuation of high quality healthcare for the community for years to come.

The joint venture partnership preserves the tax-exempt, not-for-profit charitable status and purpose of Saline County Medical Center.  Simultaneously, it creates a tax-paying (for-profit entity) that will contribute a new source of revenues to the city and county through the paying of property and sales taxes. In keeping with the long term mission of mission of Saline Memorial Hospital, existing charity care policies and practices will be preserved.

“We are excited to bring this innovative partnership and new additional resources to our growing community. We know this will allow us to expand services, recruit specialists, and continue to enhance our already strong commitment to providing high quality care,” said Meredith Wineland, Chair of the Saline Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. “The affiliation with a larger entity and regional providers also provides for our long-term sustainability.  Additionally, our agreement ensures continued local governance since it’s a 50/50 public-private partnership. We are excited about this collaboration because we believe it’s the best possible outcome for healthcare in our region.”

In addition to new expertise and operational resources, the partnership has committed to invest $35,000,000 in capital expenditures over the next five years. This new investment will allow for potential expansion and updating of hospital facilities, new equipment and technology, and access to additional high quality healthcare services locally through new services and physician recruitment. 

Bob Trautman, CEO at Saline Memorial Hospital said, “Along with our Board, I believe this is a great opportunity for Saline Memorial Hospital, our staff and our community. Partnering with RCCH Healthcare Partners will make us a stronger organization, giving us new opportunities for growth. We’ll have access to more resources to continue our quality initiatives as well as new capital dollars to fuel growth strategies, including recruiting new physicians and adding new technology. Most importantly, RCCH HealthCare Partner’s leaders are deeply committed to community-based healthcare and high quality services, like we are. Our mission, vision and values are highly compatible.”

Saline County Medical Center will remain a not-for-profit entity, continuing its focus on assessing community needs.  The county will continue to own the real estate while the joint venture resulting from the public-private partnership will become a tax-paying organization. Distributions (excess cash flow) from the joint venture partnership to SCMC will be received on a tax-free basis.

“We are honored to be partnering with Saline Memorial Hospital to help ensure the continued high quality of care they’ve provided for this community,” said Michael Wiechart, President and CEO of RCCH HealthCare Partners. “With more than 60 years of service and national recognition for their high quality care, we look forward to working with and learning from Saline’s associates as well as sharing with them and investing in resources for growth.”

The SMH Foundation will continue as a separate 501(c)3 entity, with funds raised going to many of the same initiatives, including community programs such as providing CPR equipment for students and funding scholarships as well as patient and family support, including assisting underprivileged patients and continued support at the Hospice House in Bryant.

The health care industry is facing many challenges, Trautman said. “Health care reform, continued reductions to reimbursement and increasing competition from health systems outside of Saline County have come together to create a particularly challenging environment for providers. To succeed in the future, every hospital must continue to improve quality while lowering costs and expanding access for patients. Closer collaborations and increased scale are essential for success in this new era since every hospital is being challenged to do more with less.”

About Saline Memorial Hospital

Located in Benton, AR, Saline Memorial Hospital has served the community for more than 60 years earning national recognition for its quality of care. For the past three years, SMH has earned HealthGrades® Patient Safety Excellence Award™.  At SMH, patients can expect quality healthcare with a personal touch. As a 177-bed, community hospital and one of the largest employers in Saline County, SMH continually works toward expanding services to better meet the needs of patients and local residents. SMH has a strong tradition of providing charitable support to the residents of the community. Over the past three years, SMH has provided over $40 million in charity and uncompensated care.  Saline County is one of the five fastest-growing counties in Arkansas.

About RCCH Healthcare Partners

RCCH HealthCare Partners works with communities to build strong regional healthcare systems that are known for quality patient care. Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, RCCH HealthCare Partners operates 17 regional health systems in 12 states. For more information, visit the website

In Arkansas, RCCH HealthCare Partners operates National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs and Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Russellville. 

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