Health care entities across the region will receive aid as part of an effort by the Northwest Arkansas Council supported by several local business and philanthropic partners.

Combined financial and in-kind donations exceed $3 million from J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., RevUnit, Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation to support health care organizations in Northwest Arkansas in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

“This joint effort demonstrates how the Northwest Arkansas community is coming together in a powerful way to respond to an unexpected crisis,” said Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “Support from these great partners will allow the region’s health care providers to continue to protect staff, patients and keep our community safe.” 

The Northwest Arkansas Council, through its Health Care Transformation Division, coordinated with providers to determine how the funds and supplies would be distributed.

Much of funding will be used to increase testing capacity and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals across the region. Additional funds would be available to support front-line health care workers and ensure there is a stabilized workforce to meet anticipated health care needs.

Local technology company RevUnit created a web-based interface for regional hospitals to track existing cases, bed availability, status of testing and available supplies to ensure regional coordination and cooperation.  

 “Front-line health care workers across the country are working tirelessly and at risk of running out of supplies and PPE,” said Eric Pianalto, president, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas. “We are grateful for the coordinated effort by the Council that will alleviate these concerns and allow our staff to effectively respond to the community’s health care needs.”

Funds are expected to ensure that acute care hospitals in Northwest Arkansas will be able to maintain a ready workforce and attempt to prevent furloughs of clinical front-line health care workers needed to treat patients infected with COVID-19.