SAMA Healthcare - Our Story
Recognizing that the people of Union County had limited access to medical care and after hours services, it became clear to independent doctors Gary Bevill, Matthew Callaway, and James Sheppard that a “one-stop” healthcare facility would best serve their patients and the community. In late 1997 and early 1998, they formally joined efforts and put their vision on paper.
By the fall of 1999, the three separate solo practices moved to a new, single story, 20,000 sq. ft. facility. This made their vision a reality! Healthcare services in Southern Arkansas immediately changed as access to convenient care was increased and available seven days a week.
Local and regional growth of the clinic created further demand for services bringing Marcia Ford, APRN to come aboard in early 2000. By the middle of 2001, Dr. Eric Hatley joined SAMA and was followed by Harriette Allison, APRN who joined the practice in 2003.
In 2002, the physicians made an investment that would change the course of the clinic and thrust SAMA into the national spotlight years later. We were one of the first clinics in Arkansas to purchase an Electronic Medical Record system (EMR) and in the years since have worked to maximize the utilization of the EMR System to provide better care for our patients.
In January 2004, we officially became SAMA HealthCare Services PA and for the next four years continued improving upon our processes while staying with a provider base of six. In 2008, we had a change in Administrators as Pete Atkinson MHA joined our team after working for seven years at The Medical Center of South Arkansas.
The next four years were spent preparing for change. President Obama entered the White House in January of 2009. While we did not know how things would change it was apparent from the beginning of his administration that healthcare reform was a top priority. This coupled with President Bush’s pledge in 2004 that all Americans would have an Electronic Health Record by 2014 told us that change was not only coming but coming soon.
In 2012, SAMA was chosen to be a Comprehensive Primary Care clinic meaning that multiple payers were going to invest in our clinic over the next four years in order to transform SAMA into a patient centered medical home. We jumped on this opportunity creating four care teams, hiring additional staff, and changing our workflow. The results of this transformation and the model which we have created have been recognized nationally and spotlighted in articles written by MSNBC, The Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society, as well as many others.
Over the next two years, we brought in six additional nurse practitioners, one of which specializes in pediatrics and runs our “SAMA Kids Clinic," and Dr. Deanna Hopson who we built another care team around.
Today we are seeing more patients than ever and our quality is better than ever. Five fully staffed and well organized care teams, our new schedule, and additional providers allow us to see over 100 same day appointments on any given day. We are open 360+ days a year, have a provider on call 24/7/365, and have lab, pharmacy, and radiology services on site.
In the year ahead, we expect to finish a 10,000 square foot expansion and Dr. Lauren Monteith will be joining us in August. We are talking to a Social Worker and a specialist who could possibly be joining us in 2016 as well. We also hope to focus more on geriatrics and population health helping educate and provide preventative services.
“In this world you're either growing or you're dying” according to famous football coach Lou Holtz. We continue to grow each day. Our goal is simple; to provide the best healthcare services we possibly can for our friends and family here in in South Arkansas and to do it for a long time.