Gov. Asa Hutchinson, members of the Drew County medical community, elected officials and county residents were on hand Friday morning for the grand opening of Drew Memorial Health Systems’ new $31 million expansion.
The 51,000 square-foot expansion includes a surgery center, women’s center, specialty care center for visiting physicians and new entrance lobby.
“About 10 years ago, Drew County approved an ad valorem tax of $4 million which was dedicated to a new surgical center,” said Drew Memorial CEO Scott Barrilleaux. “Then, in 2014, Drew County (voters) approved a quarter-cent sales tax which was used to leverage $9 million in funds for the project. That’s $13 million of Drew County taxes used toward this project. Drew Memorial used $4 million of its cash and there is a $14 million revenue bond secured by future revenues to complete the total budget of this project at approximately $31 million.”
Barrilleaux said Drew Memorial is truly a community asset that has grown to become a comprehensive health system bringing world-class medical care close to home.
“You don’t have to drive hours away to get the best health care,” Barrilleaux said. “You can get it right here from caring, compassionate folks you know personally.”
Gov. Hutchinson lauded Drew County for investing in its community, its future and quality of life.
“I look at the 51,000 square-feet, new labor and delivery unit, the surgery center that can serve 100,000 people in Southeast Arkansas, so I am delighted to be here today to help cut a ribbon and salute this community for recognizing the importance of health care and your investment in health care,” Hutchinson said.
Following Hutchinson’s remarks, Drew Memorial Board Chairman Mike Akin recognized local leaders for their vision, area financial institutions for their support, and members of community for supporting the taxes that made the expansion possible.
“We are no longer a little county hospital,” Akin said. “We are a health system.”
Participating in the plans of the new facility and its subsequent grand opening today was a particular honor for Drew County Judge Robert Akin. Akin’s grandfather, the late Dr. AK Busby, was a longtime physician in Drew County before, during and after the construction of the original portion of the hospital.