Front row (L to R): Dr. Richard Vertrees Smith, NeuroScience Institute medical director;
Amber Elliot, RN; Christi Cline, RN; Brian Rhodes,
RN; Michael Lancaster, RN; Kelli Dutton, APRN-CNS
Middle row (L to R): Dr. Joe Andrezik; Dr. Tim Tytle;
Heloisa Pearson, RN; Dr. Dustin Rosenhamer
Back row (L to R): Dr. Chris Hampson and Dr. Vance McCollom
Not pictured: Dr. Chad Thompson and Dr. Kevin Mikawa
OKLAHOMA CITY – Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City’s NeuroScience Institute is the first center in Oklahoma and one of only 15 hospitals in the nation to be certified as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
What does this Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification mean to patients? It means Mercy has been recognized by the U.S. health care industry’s most thorough standard-setting organization for having staff, equipment and processes that meet the highest levels of stroke prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation.
“With stroke, everyone knows minutes matter. What people might not know – or think about when stroke happens – is where they should go for their best chances of recovery,” said Dr. Richard Vertrees Smith, neurosurgeon and Mercy NeuroScience Institute medical director. “We’re hoping this certification gives us the opportunity to help people in Oklahoma understand that the nation’s highest quality stroke care is right here at home, at Mercy.”
The process for earning this status started back in 2008, when Mercy earned its first stroke center accreditation from The Joint Commission – the nation’s oldest and largest accrediting body in health care – and didn’t stop there. After a demanding application process, Mercy underwent a rigorous onsite review in October 2012, when Joint Commission experts surveyed compliance with standards including advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments and staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.
“Our stroke team has been devoted to this process for years,” said Jim Gebhart, Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City president. “They’ve coordinated the efforts of hundreds of doctors, nurses, technicians and educators to develop one of the leading stroke programs in the United States.”
Mercy joins Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, also in Los Angeles, and Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, in Stanford, Calif., on the elite list of 15 hospitals receiving this accreditation in the U.S.
"By achieving this advanced certification, Mercy has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” said Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Mercy for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”
Mercy Hospital Oklahoma Cityis a 380-bed hospital where 2,800 co-workers provide services including Level-III neonatal intensive care, robotic surgery, cancer care, interventional radiology and clinical research. Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 32 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,900 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,600 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,600 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also certifies more than 2,400 disease-specific care programs such as stroke, heart failure, joint replacement and stroke rehabilitation, and 400 health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.
Image cut lines and downloadable individual photos are available on Mercy's Flickr.
Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital: (405) 384-5250
OKLAHOMA CITY – The 50-bed Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital at Memorial Road and Macarthur Boulevard is getting finishing touches this week, in preparation for its opening Oct. 17.
“It’s been an exciting year,” said Sharon Smeltzer, Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital CEO. “Every day we come to work and see something new. Just like the therapy that will take place under this roof in a couple of weeks, it’s incredible daily progress.”
In August 2011, in a partnership with Centerre Healthcare Corporation – a national leader in the development and operation of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals – Mercy broke ground on the $22 million facility, which will employ 150 staff.
“We at Centerre Healthcare are delighted to join with Mercy Hospital to deliver superior rehabilitation services in the local community,” said Patrick Foster, CEO of Centerre Healthcare. “The culture of this facility and staff is to provide superior clinical outcomes to the patients we serve, with superior patient, family and physician satisfaction. Our goal is to return each and every patient to their home and to work where they can function as an active productive member of society.”
Since its inception, the hospital’s construction has been closely guided by an advisory board with first-hand rehabilitation experience.
“Almost every design decision from the hospital layout, to the size of the private bathrooms was impacted by the advisory group,” said Jim Gebhart, Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City president and Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital board chairman. “Their input was invaluable. We actually moved a major entrance of the building around to the back, based on their feedback that they’d like more privacy when being transported. Only someone who has experienced rehab would know what a huge difference that’s going to make.”
The hospital floor plan helps separate noisy, common areas from quiet, calming patient spaces. The cafeteria, large rehab gym and entrance are on the west side of the building, while patient rooms, day rooms, a chapel and consultation rooms are on the east side.
The inpatient hospital houses three rehabilitation units in four separate wings: stroke, brain injury and general rehab. The designated areas for brain injury and stroke rehab allow specialists to fine-tune their environments and treatments to best benefit the patients. The close proximity to others experiencing similar obstacles is emotionally therapeutic for patients and their families, too.
“We know it’s more than a physical journey,” said Smeltzer. “A physical trauma that requires rehabilitation usually comes with emotional trauma. It’s important for patients to stay positive throughout rehabilitation, and being able to relate to someone going through the same thing as you is such a comfort.”
Mercy also focused on spiritual comfort in designing the facility. Crosses are intentionally and subtly present in windows, tiles and beams throughout the hospital. And a chapel for quiet reflection, prayer or meditation is available all hours.
Because nature also helps to calm and uplift the spirit, the building was designed to bring the outside inside, with 8-foot picture windows in every room and walls of windows in common areas, like hallways, day rooms, the cafeteria and the large rehabilitation gym. The countless windows provide views of the 5.5 acre grounds complete with native landscaping and intentionally preserved green space, such as the grass pavement.
Construction codes require the building to be surrounded by surfaces structurally sound to support a fire truck. Rather than traditional asphalt or concrete paved way, designers got creative and installed what’s known as grass pavement – a section of concrete with drainage, covered by honeycombed, rubberized tiles installed beneath sod that support heavy machinery and allow grass to grow through it. This fulfilled code requirements and preserved a half football field-sized space behind the hospital for co-workers, patients and their families to enjoy day-to-day.
Designers also focused on the comfort of visitors, knowing how caregiver support positively impacts patients during recovery. All patient rooms are private, and include a private bathroom, secure storage and sleepers for guests. All furnishings in the hospital are hotel quality with health care durability, to ensure comfort and cleanliness. The facility has several common areas for visitors and patients to relax, including a day room, walking path and patio area.
Another patio on the north side of the building is for work, rather than relaxation. Outside, patients will practice walking up and down stairs, through doors, up and down ramps and across various surfaces like brick, decking, gravel and asphalt and they progress in therapy. The outdoor therapy area is also where patients will fine tune motor skills with a 16-foot golf putting green and several gardening areas.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, nearly 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.
Centerre Healthcare Corporation is a national provider of inpatient acute rehabilitation services, dedicated solely to partnering with medical centers to complement their healthcare continuum through joint development and operation of acute rehabilitation hospitals and units. Modern Healthcare named Centerre as the fastest growing hospital company in the United States in 2012. Centerre Healthcare facilities rank among the top inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) in the IRF database of Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR); a ranking which provides a measure of the company’s quality clinical outcomes. Centerre has been named in the annual ranking of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America by Inc. magazine. For more about Centerre, visit www.centerrehc.com.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Dr. John Livingston, an orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, can walk again.
After a six-month battle with West Nile virus, during which he endured a three-week coma and swelling of the brain, Dr. Livingston is heading home to be with his family. And, it's just in time for a major milestone in his son's life.
Clark Curry, 65, pictured during inpatient
rehabilitation at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City
EDMOND, Okla. - This Christmas, an Edmond family has another blessing to count. After a life-threatening battle with West Nile virus, Clark Curry, 65, is learning to walk again.
After contracting West Nile during the summer of 2012 - its biggest outbreak in Oklahoma history - Curry was wheelchair bound with limited mobility in his right arm. Since August, Curry's been on an intense schedule of physical and occupational therapy. But, his hard work is paying off. One recent afternoon while watching football in his living room, Curry decided it was time to stand up.
"Well, I was just sitting here and thought I'd give it a try," said Curry. "I held on to my walker and pulled myself up and thought that was pretty good. I probably overdid it, but it felt so good to stand that I went ahead and stood up and sat down five or six times right then."
Since then, Curry's rebuilding muscles and learning to walk. He can walk with a walker for several paces now.
It's been quite a journey for Curry and his wife, Janis, who have been married 44 years. From having wheelchair ramps and supports constructed in their home, to helping him stand and now walk with a walker, Janis has literally been there every step of the way.
"My wife's and kids' support has meant everything to me," said Curry. "Faith, family, hard work and friends have gotten us through this."
"We're always thankful for everything we get," she said. "But now we're extra thankful to God."
To hear more about Clark and Janis' story. Click here and the links below.
Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Leaders
(L to R) Controller Debbie Bynum,
CEO Sharon Smeltzer,
Medical Director Dr. A.J. Bisson,
Director of Nursing Wanda Meler-Poteet,
and Director of Human Resources Vicky Scaggs
OKLAHOMA CITY – The 50-bed, $22 million rehab facility opening this month in north Oklahoma City will be led by CEO Sharon Smeltzer, who joined Mercy earlier this year, and a team of leaders with vast experience from diverse backgrounds.
Dr. A.J. Bisson has been named Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital medical director. He will oversee therapy programs and clinical care of patients. Bisson has more than twenty years of experience, having completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. He’s certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Bisson earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and his medical degree from The University of Oklahoma.
Debbie Bynum has been named controller. She will direct the financial activities for the hospital, including guiding economic objectives and policies, and forecasting income, expenses and overall budgets. Bynum, a certified public accountant, comes to Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital after serving as controller for True Energy Services in Ada, Okla., where she managed accounting and payroll for nine companies. She received her bachelor’s in accounting from The University of Oklahoma.
Vicky Scaggs will serve as human resources manager, focusing on personnel and staffing for the hospital. She has 16 years experience in human resources, including her most recent role as human resources manager for U.S. Foods, where she managed HR for 250 employees. Scaggs earned a bachelor’s in human resources management from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Zach Schmidt has been named director of business development focusing on patient admission processes and physician referrals. Schmidt has eight years experience in health care operations and sales, including serving as business operations manager at Baylor Surgicare in Mansfield, Texas. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in business.
Wanda Meler-Poteet, registered nurse, has been named director of nursing. She will oversee the clinical operations of the rehabilitation staff, including customer service standards, safety and quality. Meler-Poteet has 20 years of experience in nursing, most recently serving as interim director of nursing at INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Hospital. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing and her Master of Science in nursing from The University of Oklahoma.
Paula Saxon, who has served as Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City’s rehab therapy manager and occupational therapist for the past 10 years, will serve as therapy manager. Saxon will develop programs at advanced skill levels to treat stroke, and spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. She will also supervise operational functions such as staffing, setting and achieving patient safety goals, providing opportunities for continuing education for co-workers as well as ensuring Mercy service standards, mission and values are met and upheld. Saxon has 33 years of experience as an occupational therapist, specializing in stroke rehabilitation. She most recently served as rehab therapy manager at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. Saxon earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy at The University of Oklahoma. She is NDT-certified by the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association, and is a member of the Oklahoma and American Occupational Therapy Associations.
Carrie Tracy has been named director of continuous quality and process improvement. She will work closely with clinical co-workers to prevent adverse events at the hospital, such as falls and infections. She will oversee the processes and models of care being followed at the hospital, review outcomes and make necessary adjustments to ensure the best possible patient care. She will also direct health information management efforts, infection control and ongoing clinical education for co-workers. Tracy has ten years experience in rehabilitation health care, having served most recently as a nurse manager in Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City’s 32-bed rehabilitation center, which is moving to the new hospital. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Arts in organizational dynamics from The University of Oklahoma.
The hospital, designed for private, individualized rehabilitative patient care, will open under a partnership between Mercy and Centerre Healthcare, a national provider of inpatient acute rehabilitation services.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.
Centerre Healthcare Corporation is a national provider of inpatient acute rehabilitation services, dedicated solely to partnering with medical centers to complement their healthcare continuum through joint development and operation of acute rehabilitation hospitals and units. In 2011, Inc. Magazine placed Centerre in the top 15% of its annual ranking of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America. In 2009, 50 percent of Centerre Healthcare facilities ranked in the top 10 percent of 805 inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) that qualified to be ranked in the IRF database of Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR); a ranking which provides a measure of the company’s quality clinical outcomes. For more about Centerre, visit www.centerrehc.com.