After unanimous votes by both the Fulton County Quorum Court on Tues., February 20, 2024, and the Baxter Health System Board of Directors on Wed., February 28, 2024, Fulton County Hospital has reached a long-term agreement to become part of the Baxter Health System. Baxter Health will continue to manage Fulton County Hospital for the remainder of 2024 under the current management agreement and will execute the long-term lease by January 1, 2025.

This decision comes after the Fulton County Hospital Board voted unanimously in August, 2023, to sign a letter of intent to enter into a management agreement with Baxter Health. This was the recommendation of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration consultants Alvarez and Marsal Public Sector Service, LLC, who helped Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and state legislators decide how to prioritize hospitals’ requests for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

After six months of operational oversight, Baxter Health has helped increase volumes across various service lines including swing bed and endoscopy. In addition, they have successfully improved the revenue cycle, addressed compliance issues (for example: price transparency), and helped generate positive cash flow to settle debts with key suppliers, fulfill payroll obligations, and repay substantial loan amounts to local financial institutions.

“The encouragement from both the hospital staff and the wider community throughout our management partnership have been nothing short of extraordinary. In the challenging landscape of critical access hospitals, where resources are scarce, Baxter Health has stepped in to bridge that gap. We brought to the table a wealth of resources in financial management and operational strategies. The team at Fulton County Hospital has demonstrated remarkable openness and willingness to collaborate with Baxter Health. Together, we’re committed to steering the hospital towards a stable and sustainable future,” said Anthony Reed, Interim Administrator of Fulton County Hospital.

Helping Fulton County Hospital is another example of how Baxter Health is meeting its purpose to champion access to compassionate high-quality care by adding and enhancing services offered by the critical access hospital right in their community. We look forward to continuing to serve the patients of Fulton County for generations to come,” said Ron Peterson, President/CEO of Baxter Health.

“Baxter Health brings world class healthcare directly to Fulton County. They stepped in to ensure the citizens of Fulton County have a thriving hospital close to home. We deeply appreciate their commitment and we’ve never been more excited for the future of healthcare in our county,” said Fulton County Judge Kenneth Crow.