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Community Clinic Prepares For Health Care Shift

A health care clinic in Springdale is preparing for January, when thousands of Arkansans will gain insurance for the first time.
Springdale, AR - Open enrollment in Arkansas' online insurance marketplace is off to a rocky start but it isn't slowing down a health care clinic in Springdale as they prepare for January, when thousands of Arkansans will gain insurance for the first time.

Community Development Manager Tyler Clark says the Community Clinic in Springdale accelerated expansion plans as soon as the Affordable Care Act became law.

"The last three years, prep for the ACA and the private option the last year or so has really changed the way we do business," he says. "We're adding increased facility capacity, increased technology capacity, increased staff capacity."

The community health center now has 30,000 patients, but Clark expects to add 10,000 more over the next two years.

"They probably won't all come at once, or at least we hope they won't," he says. "If you think about the process in Washington and Benton County, there will be 30,000 per county that will then have access through the exchange."

An 18 room expansion is set to open in a couple of weeks, and the clinic has added sixty positions over the last three years .

"You have a provider, but those providers need assistance, for medical assistants, nurses etc." Clark says. "That means more billing staff, more front desk staff and more HR staff."

The clinic is also upgrading technology to get ready for a surge in patients. They've updated their electronic medical records program, and installed new phone systems to handle higher call volumes.

"The need for healthcare is still there," Clark says. "We don't see it dissipating any time soon, with or without healthcare insurance."
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