Mercy Foundation Recognizes Donors and Announces Gift

September 15, 2010

Local family donates building for Vision Rehabilitation Center of the Ozarks


Mercy Clinic Eye Specialist

Dr. Kathryn Sun with Springfieldian Judy Beisner.

Mercy recognized the significance of physician giving and its impact on health care in the Ozarks at  “Prescription for Hope,” at the annual Mercy Foundation for Community Health Donor Recognition Dinner.

Mercy ophthalmologist Dr. Tom Essman announced a donation from the family of the late Dr. Don Beisner, a Springfield ophthalmologist, of a facility to serve as a home for Vision Rehabilitation Center of the Ozarks. VRCO is a non-profit community resource center created to provide quality care and service to individuals with diminished visual acuity that cannot be corrected with corrective lenses or surgery. Development of the center was announced at last summer’s Mercy Foundation event when Mercy Clinic – Eye Specialists announced a $50,000 pledge to launch a low vision fund to support research projects and expansion of services related to eye health and vision impairment. Since last year’s announcement, the organization became incorporated and put in place a Board of Directors.


Jane and William Pitt show support for Mercy

at the annual Foundation Donor Recognition Dinner.

The facility, which will be named Beisner Vision Rehabilitation Center, is located at 1661 W. Elfindale in Springfield. It will use appropriate technology and a trained staff to care for the variety of visual needs, including a comprehensive rehabilitation system to assist patients who are coping with the loss of visual function, maximize their abilities and restore their quality of life as close as possible to what it was prior to their injury or illness.

Drury University Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (DU CCVI), under the direction of Chris Craig, PHd, will provide services in the facility to help children ages birth to three years old with visual impairments, and their parents with the initial supports to have a positive impact on development. Some of the supports provided by the DU CCVI include a home visit to collect information on functional vision and other needs, consultation provided to parents and other care providers on how to best meet the needs of young children with visual impairments, and to point to other community, state, and national resources readily available to these children and their families.

“Vision loss ranks just behind death in what people fear,” explains Dr. Tom Essman, Mercy Clinic ophthalmologist.  “Currently, if an individual in the Springfield or surrounding area suffers severe vision loss, there is no organized system to help them achieve their highest quality of life. Low vision can lead to depression, social isolation, falls and medication errors. Without specialized services, blind people risk what we all fear the most: loss of independence and dignity.”

“Dr. Beisner believed in the need for enhanced services and was passionate about plans for a low vision center,” Essman continued. “The physician community is grateful for his contribution to the field of medicine and for this very generous donation that will carry forth his legacy.”

Mercy Foundation also recognized the more than 500 physicians and 1000-plus Mercy Clinic co-workers who together have raised more than $1 million dollars for “Force for Good” campaigns aimed to improve quality of life for men and women across the Ozarks. Dollars from these campaigns have supported efforts to provide clothing and necessities for children going back to school, food on the shelves of area food pantries, and many other worthwhile initiatives.

“Mercy is committed to improving community health and through our Foundation has created a positive outlet for all of us to channel good will,” said Jon Swope, Mercy Health System President / CEO. Donations to the Foundation support a wide variety of activities, including adding vital services, technology and resources needed to take care of the people in our community. We are pleased to take time each year to say thanks to all who contribute and to announce exciting plans for the coming year.”

Media Contacts

Sonya Kullmann
Berryville, Branson, Cassville, Lebanon, Mountain View, Rolla, Springfield, Aurora
Phone: 417-820-2426