by Jacob Ward

Reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence.
These values are at the foundation on which St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Morrilton was built nearly 85 years ago. And that’s only the beginning.


A well-organized team of physicians, administrators and support staff work tirelessly to make sure the medical center serves its employees, patients and community through quality healthcare and a welcoming, friendly environment.

St. Anthony’s Administrator and CEO Christy Hockaday was born at St. Anthony’s previous facility, which was established on Green Street in Morrilton by Benedictine Sisters in 1925.

She explains that the hospital takes its four core values much further, aiming to “develop the overall mission and serve as a healing ministry, meet community needs and act as an economic development institution.”

Commitment to the community is obvious, as the facility is one of the largest employers in town. Hockaday is heavily indoctrinated in the community, representing the medical center on the Conway County Economic Development Board and in various other capacities. Since she began working at the medical center two and a half years ago, Hockaday has focused on creating an environment in which employees and patients feel like part of a community.

“We do a lot of community benefit work,” Hockaday said. “We have recently begun offering health screenings at local farmers markets. We also host frequent blood drives and are involved in numerous events.”

Hockaday believes this sense of community, which she strives to foster daily, is one of the reasons about 10 percent of St. Anthony’s current employees were actually born at the present or previous hospital facility.

“We have really tried to create a culture – one where people feel inspired and feel like they belong,” Hockaday said. “When our employees feel like they belong and are making a difference, they want to contribute to the community, and that’s what we need from one another – support.”

While St. Anthony’s is a large contributor to the community, it is the support the hospital receives from the surrounding area that allows it to constantly update and expand facility offerings.

“The community supports us through a ¼ cent sales tax and by contributing to our Foundation during events,” Hockaday said. “We have many active auxiliary members who run our gift shop and volunteer daily at the hospital. We couldn’t do it without them. They’re all part of our culture.”

These contributions from the community don’t go unnoticed in the facility, either. The most recent improvements include a newly renovated rehabilitation center, a refurbished waiting room and completely revamped patient rooms. Seeing these completed projects also makes it clear that St. Anthony’s really is much more than just another hospital. 

The walls in the new rehabilitation center are covered in art created by a local artist, and Hockaday has built a great rapport with every member of her staff. The rapport has led to a significant improvement in employee satisfaction ratings over the past few years.

Throughout each year, the hospital also sponsors several special events, which aim to serve both patients and community members while increase fundraising for special projects such as the new rehabilitation center. All these things have equaled a formula for great success, as quality of care ratings are consistently scored above 90 percent by the Arkansas Foundation of Medical Care.

What’s in the future for St. Anthony’s? Hockaday hopes to continue to enhance the technology offered by the hospital to help the facility continue to progress as a regional health destination, while taking time to celebrate successes along the way. As far as the hospital environment is concerned, she feels her well-trained staff has it under control.

“The entire medical center staff is one team,” Hockaday said. “We have an incredible group of doctors and other staff members who work hard to increase patient satisfaction.”