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Dr. Robert Jones, a local orthopedic surgeon, is among the 18,682 employees at Mercy Springfield Communities.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
Dr. Robert Jones, a local orthopedic surgeon, is among the 18,682 employees at Mercy Springfield Communities.

2018 Economic Impact Awards 30+ Years in Operation Finalist: Mercy Springfield Communities

A Medical Engine

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Mercy has grown immensely in Springfield since its inception in 1891, when then-St. John’s Hospital started with just three co-workers. All were Catholic nuns who came to town at the request of a local physician to help with Springfield’s first hospital.

Today, Mercy Springfield Communities employs 10,682 locally, part of the 44,000-employee St. Louis-based system. What started in 1891 as an eight room home, in 2017 had 32,366 discharges with 35,660 inpatient and outpatient surgeries.

Mercy Springfield Communities includes the Springfield hospital as well as hospitals in Lebanon, Mountain View, Aurora and Cassville, as well as locations in Arkansas.

Jon Swope, president of Mercy Springfield Communities and president of Mercy Central region, says recent projects have continued the growth and impact on the local economy.

“It’s been absolutely amazing to see the growth and the way we’ve expanded inpatient and outpatient care to meet the needs of a huge service area for us,” he says.

Recently completed projects include the Orthopedic Hospital on Evans Road, in between Ozark and Springfield. Swope says the ortho hospital met a need for specialized services.

“It was really a response to the baby boomer population continuing to age, experiencing more and more joint-related health problems,” he says.

After receiving patient feedback, Mercy found baby boomer patients were wanting a different experience for joint-related issues than services offered at the main hospital.

“They viewed themselves as needing to be fixed, but not as being sick,” he says. “They wanted an environment that was consistent with how they viewed themselves. It’s hard to provide that in a large facility that deals with very sick and chronic, related disease. We’ve seen significant improvement in the outcomes and the time it takes for a patient to return back to, not even normal, but their improved quality of life, because of what we’ve been able to do.”

Others have recognized the efforts: Mercy Hospital Springfield was the fifth best hospital in Missouri by U.S. News & World Report in fiscal 2017.

Currently, Mercy is undergoing the Mercy Heart Hospital Springfield project, estimated at $110 million. The heart hospital will be part of the Springfield campus. There’s also a new multispeciality clinic in Branson with a budget of $19 million and another in Bolivar, a $26.9 million planned investment.

“I shudder to think how many outside workers are here, helping us complete these spaces,” he says. “But it has absolutely been a huge financial impact on the community and the surrounding communities. I have no hesitation in saying hundreds of workers are employed because of our ability to invest in these new services and these new structures. It has just a downstream effect on the community.”

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