Mercy announced plans Tuesday night to build a state-of-the-art hospital in Joplin, at I-44 and Main Street – along with plans to build additional health care services elsewhere in Joplin. In total, Mercy’s commitment to Joplin will include upwards of $950 million – something unheard of in most communities today.
“We are making this commitment because it’s the right thing to do for Joplin,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy which includes 28 hospitals and more than 200 outpatient facilities in a seven-state area. “The May 22 tornado devastated our community here in Joplin and destroyed our hospital but we’ve promised all along we would rebuild. We plan to break ground January 2012 and open the new hospital, as well as a secondary northeast campus, in 2014.”
Committed to the community since 1885 when the Sisters of Mercy first provided much needed health care to local miners, those efforts continue today, as evidenced by:
“There was never a thought to close down and walk away,” said Gary Pulsipher, president of Mercy Hospital Joplin. “In fact, Mercy immediately pledged to keep more than 2,000 Mercy co-workers employed. That’s the kind of commitment that makes me proud to be Mercy.”
Theresa Ukena is living proof of that commitment. Ukena worked in the finance department at Mercy in Joplin. Today, she and five other co-workers carpool two hours each day to Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott, Kan.
“I am blessed to have a job and blessed to be paid,” said Ukena. “I could have been let go on the spot but I wasn’t. Everyone here at Mercy in Fort Scott has made me feel so welcome. They treat me like family.”
With the announcement of plans for a new hospital, hundreds of co-workers like Ukena have the assurance they will eventually be working together again in Joplin.
As a part of the new plans underway, Mercy will rebuild with 327 inpatient beds to support the region, and a planned expansion up to 424 beds. Plans include medical surgical, critical care, women’s/children’s (labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms), behavioral health and rehab. This new footprint in Joplin will allow Mercy to deliver health care in a new way.
“By rebuilding our hospital, our schools and our community in Joplin, we rise out of the debris and look to the future, setting in motion a new Joplin landscape and economic recovery,” said Britton. “We will find innovative ways to serve Joplin and continue to provide compassionate, patient-centered care.”