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Welcome to our Chamber Connection Newsletter!
In an effort to connect our Chamber Members to valuable news, information, and resources each month we will feature a spotlight topic to better connect our community. This month's topic is healthcare and next month we will feature updates regarding economic and workforce development efforts and legislative updates.
February | 2021 | Healthcare
This Month's Newsletter Topic Sponsored By:
More From our Newsletter Sponsor: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma celebrates the generosity of the River Valley community for their support to build an 11-bedroom Ronald McDonald House at Mercy Fort Smith.
Through a $3,015,000 capital campaign, of which 81% has been raised, the House will be one of 5 programs operated by RMHC of Arkoma. Currently, families with ill or injured children seek respite at the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Mercy Fort Smith, one floor above the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The new House will increase the number of families served each night from 4 to 15. Through your support, RMHC of Arkoma was able to break ground for the House on December 28th, 2020, with a projected opening in August 2021. To help motivate donors to give, The Mabee Foundation has granted a challenge, matching $500,000 in donations made towards the capital campaign.

More than ever, donor support is greatly needed as RMHC of Arkoma approaches the challenge deadline of April 14th, 2021. To support the grant's timeline and complete the final campaign push, RMHC of Arkoma is implementing several ways to promote an inclusive opportunity for anyone to get involved. The ways to get involved include hosting a "House Party" and inviting friends and family to collectively contribute towards a naming opportunity at the Fort Smith Ronald McDonald House, participating in the March 2021 "Give a Little Love" fundraiser at any Fort Smith McDonald's
Restaurant by donating $1, $2, or $5 with your meal, and donating any amount towards the campaign by visiting Thank you to the River Valley community for helping RMHC of Arkoma keep families close.
Information and News Shared from our Chamber Healthcare Committee
Antioch Youth & Family
Think of nutrition as primary healthcare. The mission at Antioch for Youth & Family is to nurture mind, body and spirit with purpose and persistence. When you think about it, taking such a holistic approach is vital to the economic well-being of the Arkansas river valley.
It is imperative to all of us that children go to school, ready to learn and not ready to eat and that employees are present and prepared to be productive. Smart food choices in the home make both of those things happen. Antioch provides food assistance in such a way that proper meals are served at home and paves the way for a lifelong appreciation for wholesome eating.
Arkansas Blood Institute
Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) has an ongoing need for convalescent plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat seriously ill patients. The need for convalescent plasma in our area has increased exponentially as hospitalizations surge.
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education
The most visible impact of the ACHE involves the dramatic progress of campus development. When the groundbreaking was held in March 2015 for the initial building to house the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, few would have imagined that less than six years a formidable complex of educational buildings, student housing, retail enterprises and residential housing would have emerged.
Baptist Health
Opens New Clinic in Chaffee Crossing, Walk-ins Welcome!
Eric Drolshagen, MD, is now accepting patients at a Baptist Health’s newest family medicine clinic in the River Valley. Baptist Health Family Clinic-Chaffee Crossing is located at 11300 Roberts Blvd. It’s Baptist Health’s second location in the growing area.
Dr. Drolshagen is a Fort Smith native and graduate of Northside High School who was eager to return home and care for residents of the River Valley. He earned a medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 2016 and completed a residency in family medicine at Wheeling Hospital in Wheeling, West Virginia, this year.
Encompass Health
How inpatient rehabilitation can benefit cardiac patients:
A central component of the human body, the cardiac system sets the pace for the entire body. Made up of the heart and blood vessels, the cardiac system delivers important fuel—oxygen-rich-blood—to keep the body functioning efficiently.
When conditions such as heart disease, stroke or surgery impact the system, inpatient rehabilitation can make a difference in how well the body responds to treatment and help patients regain strength as they begin their recovery.
Mercy Fort Smith began vaccinating eligible area residents for the COVID-19 virus on Jan. 20 by hosting several vaccination clinics for individuals included in Phase 1-B of the Arkansas Health Department’s schedule. Eligible residents who are included in Phase 1-A, which began in December, also can receive the vaccination. Phase 1-B began Jan. 18. Mercy will continue to schedule vaccines as supplies are made available. Supplies across the nation remain very limited.
Phase 1-B includes teachers and school staff, among others. Many co-workers with the Fort Smith School District were vaccinated on Jan. 22 during a clinic hosted by Mercy. Additional clinics are planned as supplies allow.
If area residents are eligible based on state and federal guidelines, they can submit a form at to be placed on the wait list to receive notifications when appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine are available in your community. As vaccine supply allows, Mercy will be reaching out to schedule appointments with those who have submitted a form and are eligible to receive the vaccine. Visit for more information about the vaccine.
Methodist Village Senior Living
How MVSL is helping the mental health of our residents during Covid-19?
As you know, senior communities are the most vulnerable to this virus. As a result, many are unable to visit with friends and family, have decreased social activities, and may even be eating meals alone.
This could cause individuals of any age to develop anxiety or depression. Therefore, MVSL has made it a priority to be proactive in identifying the potential negative impact this virus can have on our seniors. Assessing seniors daily for changes in their mood can alert us to adjustments that need to be made in their social care. Making sure our residents are getting one on one activities, having conversations with them about how they are feeling, and making sure none of our own anxieties are showing, allows us to be better equipped to care for our residents during these challenging times.
Our goal, as always is to make sure each and every one of our residents are not only safe, and healthy
but also as happy as possible through this pandemic!
River Valley Smile Center
Dangers of Ignoring Oral Health Long Term:
You should always take care of your teeth and never bypass taking care of them when you experience dental pain or sensitivity. Otherwise, you can end up having a multitude of dental complaints. Therefore, make sure you always schedule regular dental cleanings and exams. By having in-office exams every 6 months, you can address and repair a small dental problem that could become a major issue in the future.
Healthy Workplace Awards - What's New Now
ArcBest 2019 Healthy Workplace Winner - Large Size Organization

Wellness is a core value at ArcBest, and the COVID-19 pandemic did not deter the focus from the well-being of employees, including physical, behavioral, social and financial. 
ArcBest promotes wellness through various initiatives, offering a wellness track for employees and spouses to qualify and earn a discount on insurance premiums and lower deductibles. Due to the pandemic, many of the usual wellness activities went virtual in 2020, including the annual ArcBest 5K, driving the team to call on anther core value — creativity.

Over the last few years, ArcBest has put several virtual health solutions in place to ensure that employees have access to services without leaving the safety of their homes. These services include virtual primary care, virtual behavioral care and at-home test kits to complete biometric screenings. 

The company places a high priority on the safety and well-being of employees. ArcBest continues to closely monitor guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to look for opportunities to encourage employees to live out the ArcBest Wellness Value — We Embrace Total Health.
Trane Technologies 2019 Healthy Workplace Award - Medium Size Organization

Trane Technologies launched a new wellness platform called Be Well earlier this year, in which employees and their eligible spouses can earn up to $3000 per year in their Health Savings Account. On both the desktop and app for Be Well, participants can choose various activities to complete each quarter, such as reading healthy living articles, participating in health coaching sessions, logging in volunteer time, participating in community fitness events, tracking daily steps, and so much more!  The Company also arranges for nurses to come to the plant in October in order to assist participants in getting their flu vaccines and completing a Biometric Screening on site, making it easier than ever to participate.  

Throughout the year Trane Technologies also arranges for its employees to participate in wellness activities such as the Fort Smith Marathon, Keep Arkansas Beautiful Campaign, and the United Way Day of Caring. There is a walking trail behind our plant and a gym in one of our common areas, which employees may utilize at no cost. If the employee prefers to join a local gym, the company will also reimburse them up to $750/year.  We have local Health Progress Leaders within the plant to assist the employees with what they need in order to be successful in their health and wellness journey.
United Federal Credit Union 2019 Healthy Workplace Award - Small Size Organization

The health and wellness of our employees is very important. United Federal Credit Union is committed to finding innovative ways to help our employees maintain healthy and fulfilling lifestyles. All part-time and full-time employees are eligible for reimbursement up to $750.00 annually for any combination of the following wellness programs:
Available to employee, spouse or domestic partner, and children reimbursements:
Cost of health club membership (Employees must submit proof of at least 4 gym visits per month to qualify for reimbursement), and up to $100 annually towards the purchase of fitness tracking devices. Available to employee reimbursements: Cost of personal trainer and active physical fitness classes, cost of health coach and dietitian fees not covered by insurance, and fees incurred for most nationally recognized weight loss programs or those weight loss programs that are prescribed by a doctor (with the MD or DO designation), that are a safe program and include a balanced diet. United Federal Credit Union uses Thrive which provides all employees an interactive and personalized online wellness program. Participation allows employees to earn points and rewards through wellness activities. We also offer all full-time and part-time employees are eligible for reimbursement up to $300 annually towards an approved tobacco quit program. This reimbursement applies to employees, immediate household members, and friends quitting along with the employee. A maximum of $600 may be reimbursed under this benefit in any five-year period.
Chamber Healthcare Activities 2020 in Review
Check Out Highlights from our 2020 Healthcare Activities
The Fort Smith Chamber focused on the importance of our healthcare community throughout 2020. Below you will see a slide show of our Healthcare Celebration Month in 2020. During this month we announced our Physician of the Year, Dr. Lee Johnson, featured Healthcare Champion Winners, and provided welcome bags to new to our area physicians.
Additionally, the Chamber visited with some of our healthcare category members during our December Shop Local Campaign. Watch our Shop Local Holiday Facebook Lives with these two members by clicking the pictures below:
Chamber Resources
Fort Smith Chamber's Covid-19 Resources

Arkansas Department of Health Vaccine Plan: Click Here for more information on the state's distribution plan Arkansas Department of Health Vaccine Locations: Click here for a map and list of participating pharmacies by city, county that will...

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March 25, 2021 - Economic Development, Workforce Development, & Legislative Affairs
April 28, 2021 - Shop Local
May 27, 2021 - Education
June 25, 2021 - Membership
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