With $150 million in capital projects underway in southwest Missouri, Mercy Springfield Communities’ presence in the Ozarks continues to grow.
Since its founding in 1891 with three Catholic nuns who arrived to assist a local doctor, the former St. John’s Hospital has grown to include regional hospitals and more than 300 clinics and outpatient facilities in a footprint that stretches from Springfield to Rolla, Cassville, Hollister and El Dorado Springs. Mercy employs more than 10,000 people in the Ozarks.
The main hospital on East Cherokee Street, which opened in 1952, is joined by Mercy Orthopedic Hospital in Ozark and hospitals in Lebanon, Mountain View, Aurora and Cassville. Mercy Kids on the Springfield campus offers care in multiple pediatric specialties and includes the Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center, one of eight affiliates for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
The capital projects include Mercy Heart Hospital Springfield, a clinic on Republic Road and a multispecialty clinic in Bolivar. The first phase of the heart hospital opened in November 2018, and the physicians’ practice will move there this fall, says Dr. Robert Cavagnol, president of Mercy Clinic Springfield.
The 13,000-square-foot primary care clinic on Republic Road replaces an existing clinic and adds space for up to 10 providers with a full-service lab and imaging equipment. The new Bolivar location is a significant expansion of care in the market.
“There’s been a demand in that community for Mercy services,” Cavagnol says. “They would like to receive those services closer to home.”
Mercy is one of a few designated “centers of excellence” for spinal care and knee-and-hip replacement as part of an initiative with some large employers, including Walmart and Lowe’s, to provide services in those specialties at higher quality with lower costs. Care is covered 100% for participating employees, and they can bring a caregiver with them when they visit Mercy.
“It’s pretty remarkable to have that type of recognition here in Springfield (and) really to have that medical tourism here in the Midwest,” says Brent Hubbard, president and chief operating officer of Mercy Hospitals Springfield.
Mercy officials are assessing whether to expand its Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care as well as reviewing other potential areas of growth.
“There is a pent-up demand for more health care services,” Cavagnol says. “We offer almost every single service, but we’re not at the point where people can call every clinic and get in the same day. … We want to get to the point where if people call, we want to be able to see them today.”
In addition to the medical care Mercy provides, the system’s dollars-and-cents impact in the Ozarks is significant — from its annual $8 million City Utilities bill and $2.1 million in property taxes to its $780 million annual payroll.
“If you look at our construction, our salaries, our payroll, our property taxes, we are well over a billion-dollar economic impact,” Hubbard says.
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