St. Edward Mercy to become Mercy Fort Smith

November 29, 2011

St. Edward Mercy Medical Center

As the nation’s eighth-largest Catholic health system, Mercy has a long tradition of caring for patients across the seven states it serves. Now the health system is taking steps to create a more meaningful and unified identity. To that end, the health system has begun a plan to move the facilities in its 100 communities across the region to one name: Mercy.

In April 2012, St. Edward Mercy Medical Center will become Mercy Hospital Fort Smith.

Over the next year, Mercy facilities will transition to one Mercy name and a new Mercy logo. This includes St. Edward Mercy Medical Center in Fort Smith, Ark.; St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center in Hot Springs, Ark.; St. John’s Hospital in Berryville, Ark. and all Mercy Clinic locations across the area. Mercy of Northwest Arkansas already made the change from St. Mary’s to Mercy when it moved to its new location in 2008.

“We owe it to the 3 million patients we serve each year to know us by one name,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy. “Adoptingthe Mercy name is not so much a change as a natural evolution. Our electronic health record has allowed our physicians and medical teams to coordinate care across facilities, communities and even states in ways that were never before possible. It has opened up a whole new world of more convenient and personalized care for our patients.”

For patients, different names have long been confusing. Case in point:

When Jarrod Anderson’s red-headed toddler got sick while they were visiting grandparents in Edmond, Okla., they sought medical help. Understandably, the Andersons made no connection between their hometown physician at Garrett Goss Clinic in Northwest Arkansas and Kelly Stephens, a pediatrician at Mercy Edmond Memorial Clinic in Oklahoma.

“We had no idea that the clinic in Oklahoma was in any way tied to our doctor in Northwest Arkansas,” said Anderson, father of three. “And yet, they were both Mercy facilities.”

Although the different facility names proved confusing, the Andersons still benefitted because of Mercy’s electronic health record. Both doctors in Oklahoma and Arkansas could read the toddler’s medical record and could track all of his care. Moving forward, Mercy will not only be connected electronically but share a consistent name and logo.

“The Mercy name is a tribute to the Sisters of Mercy who founded our ministry and led us to where we are today,” said Kim Day, interim president/CEO of St. Edward Mercy. “By adopting the one name that has always bound us in spirit, we will make it easier for the people we serve to recognize we are one Mercy.”

The Sisters of Mercy have a long history in Fort Smith. The first four came by steamboat up the Arkansas River from Little Rock in 1853. They immediately took on the task of educating the poor and caring for the sick.

In addition to visiting the sick in their homes, the Sisters created a makeshift hospital taking in both Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War.  This resulted in the opening of St. Edward’s Infirmary in 1905. The 40-bed infirmary was named after Bishop Edward Fitzgerald, second Bishop of Little Rock, who gave permission for the infirmary to be built. The Sisters also wished to invoke the blessing of a Saint on their undertaking, so the name of St. Edward was given to the infirmary. 

The name St. Edward Mercy will remain until April 2012 when the official transition to Mercy Fort Smith is made and new signage begins to go up on the hospital and clinic locations.

The new Mercy symbol is a contemporary version of the original cross which Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, adopted for her ministry. The outer extensions of the cross represent a ministry that is diverse but aligned around a common purpose, forming a cross-within-a-cross. For Catherine, the inner cross was a reminder that we should dedicate ourselves to the work God has given us, take up our own cross and serve with a deep respect for others.

St. Edward Mercy Health System is a Catholic not-for-profit health system made up of a 365-bed hospital, three critical access hospitals in Paris, Waldron and Ozark as well as St. Edward Mercy Clinic with more than 85 providers in nine locations. St. Edward Mercy employs more than 2,100 co-workers and is part of Mercy.

Mercy – is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 30 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

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