ST. LOUIS – A virtual care center and a new hospital in St. Charles County are among the $4.6 billion in health care investments that Mercy will make across Missouri over the next eight years. Mercy President and CEO Lynn Britton announced Mercy’s plans to more than 150 invited guests, including Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, at an Oct. 11 community meeting. The long-term investments to meeting community health needs include $2.4 billion in the St. Louis area.
From a pilot project for eVisits to the expansion of stroke care through an electronic intensive care monitoring system, technology was a major focus of the evening’s announcements. The new telestroke program will enable patients across Missourito access the same standard of stroke care that patients receive at Mercy’s certified stroke center in St. Louis.
Another key investment in the St. Louis area is a virtual care center – the first of its kind in the country – to be built in Chesterfield, adding 300 to 400 professional-level jobs to the local economy. The facility will allow Mercy to expand its telemedicine capabilities to outlying care centers across a four-state region. Today, Mercy’s intensive care unit (ICU) telemedicine program – Mercy SafeWatch – allows a team of highly trained intensivists and critical care nurses to provide virtual care to more than 400 patients across the Midwest. The virtual care center will enable the extension of Mercy SafeWatch to additional ICUs and into other care sites such as emergency departments.
Mercy also announced a major expansion into St. Charles County. While still in the early planning stages, a multi-specialty clinic and new hospital will be developed to serve area’s most rapidly growing community. The facilities will be built with an enhanced patient experience in mind, based on feedback from consumers.
Ideas for addressing physician shortages were also presented. For the past decade, Mercy has been working with physicians to develop a model for physician integration that is physician-led and professionally-managed. Recently named Mercy Clinic, the multi-specialty organization is on a rapid growth track in communities across the Midwest. Currently at 1,500 physician members, Mercy Clinic includes 430 physicians in the St. Louis area. Among its accomplishments, Mercy Clinic brought the first certified medical home to the St. Louis area and now has seven across Mercy, with many more under development.
The meeting was a follow-up to a series of 28 community roundtables held across Mercy in 2010, where area leaders discussed community health needs and offered their ideas as part of a year-long planning process. Several key themes emerged that impacted the development of community master plans across Mercy.
“While every community we serve is unique, there was a common thread in the themes from each community roundtable,” Britton said. “Participants expressed the need for health and wellness education for children, a desire for more physicians – particularly in rural communities, and an overall request to make health care easier – both in access and cost. We believe our resulting community master plans address the key issues that community members raised, and we are excited to begin implementing our plans not only in St. Louis but across all of the communities we serve.”
Information about Mercy’s impact in Missouri was also presented, including:
$95 million in uncompensated care provided in FY 2010;
$4.2 billion in statewide economic impact annually; and