UAMS Receives $12 Million from State Legislature to Support South Arkansas Regional Hospital in El Dorado

By Benjamin Waldrum

SARH signed a definitive agreement April 3 to acquire Medical Center of South Arkansas (MCSA) and its related businesses, including physician clinic operations and outpatient services. In the 2023 regular session, the Arkansas General Assembly provided $12 million from restricted reserves, or surplus, to SAHR through UAMS. Those funds will cover SAHR’s operational expenses associated with the acquisition and extend specialty care services in the area.

“We are extremely grateful to the General Assembly for their generous commitment to improving the health of patients in south Arkansas,” said UAMS Chancellor and UAMS Health CEO Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “We also want to thank House Speaker Matthew Shepherd for his efforts in guiding this important funding to fruition and Madison Murphy for his dedication and tireless work to improve health care for all Arkansans.

“Improving the quality of care in rural Arkansas is a priority for UAMS. Working together with our community partners, we will establish our ninth regional campus in El Dorado that will support primary medical care for generations.”

SARH is a new, nonprofit corporation created by a consortium of community stakeholders with a deep commitment to El Dorado — the SHARE Foundation, Murphy USA Charitable Foundation, Murphy Foundation and AR Health Ventures, a nonprofit entity affiliated with UAMS. The new hospital entity is dedicated to serving the medical needs of the region and expects to continue and build on a tradition of providing quality care and service.

Alignment with UAMS will support enhanced delivery of services at the hospital by various specialists.

In 2021, the Murphy Family Foundation and Murphy USA Charitable Foundation pledged $1 million over three years to UAMS to support the creation of a new regional campus in El Dorado. In 2022, the SHARE Foundation pledged $1.5 million to establish a family medicine residency program in El Dorado.

The El Dorado campus will be UAMS’ ninth regional campus. Creating a regional campus in El Dorado will provide an influx of physicians and health care professionals in Union County and south Arkansas to create a sustainable educational and training pipeline and make it easier to maintain consistent levels of care.

Regional Campuses, originally called Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), began in 1973 through the efforts of then-Gov. Dale Bumpers, the Arkansas Legislature and UAMS to train medical residents and provide clinical care and health education services around the state. Currently, eight regional campuses are located in Batesville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Helena-West Helena, Jonesboro, Magnolia, Pine Bluff and Texarkana.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.