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Growth Report 2017: Mercy Expands Access to Care

February 2, 2017
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Editor’s Note: The following story is from Growth Report 2017, published by The Business Journal.

By Donald Kline, Mercy Health-Youngstown President and CEO

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — One-hundred and five years after our first hospital opened its doors, Mercy Health–Youngstown remains committed to our founding purpose: to improve the health of our communities by ensuring access to high-quality, affordable, compassionate health care for everyone who calls the Mahoning Valley home.
Expanding that access was a key focus in 2016, and contributed to nearly 10% growth in total admissions to our hospitals during a time when admissions across the region declined.

We introduced services that allowed patients to stay close to home for care, including three new advanced cardiac procedures, expanded robotic surgery and recruited the region’s first hepatobiliary surgeon, bringing care here for complex liver and pancreatic cancers and other conditions. We brought important screenings to the places patients live, work and worship through our new Mobile Mammography Unit. And we made it easier for patients to find a provider, review health information or make a payment with the launch of our new website. Many of these initiatives also drove growth in our health care team, enabling us to maintain our position as one of the largest employers in the Mahoning Valley.

We know that to impact the overall health of the community, we must continually assess the region’s health needs and create ways to deliver on them. That’s why we continue to invest in our region through our Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley and community benefit initiatives.

In 2016, we contributed more than $63 million in the form of foundation disbursements, research, charity care and community outreach such as consumer and professional health education, faith community nursing, prescription drug assistance programs, Women’s Heart Day, St. Joe’s at the Mall and more.

Our employees strengthened our presence in the community through passionate engagement as volunteers. Collectively, they contributed thousands of hours to nonprofit organizations, school-based initiatives and volunteer-driven health programs.
While the true reward for the work we do is the ability to witness its impact on the health of our community, we’re always grateful for awards and recognition.

In 2016, all three Mercy Health Youngstown hospitals – St. Elizabeth Youngstown, St. Elizabeth Boardman and St. Joseph Warren hospitals – earned re-designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program. This recognition validates that we consistently deliver superior quality, patient care, nursing excellence and innovation in professional nursing practice.

Among other recognitions was the Women’s Choice Award based on patient satisfaction and clinical excellence. Our hospitals and our Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center were recognized in five categories, including breast care, bariatric surgery, patient safety, cancer care and obstetrics.

The key challenges of 2016 will impact our organization – and our community – in the year ahead. Health care is in the midst of significant transformation, bringing with it uncertainty and instability. We expect these conditions to continue, and even intensify, with the new presidential administration.

We’ll focus 2017 on expanding our facilities and capabilities to enhance access to care. We’ll introduce additional heart and vascular capacity; a new ambulatory center bringing primary care, specialists, lab services and more under one roof; renewed in-patient oncology services; additional orthopedics programs; and more.

Today’s transformative health care climate means we must be more nimble, innovative, flexible and forward-thinking than ever before. The key lesson that has contributed to our success throughout our history will continue to guide us in 2017: Do not waver from your mission. That’s why we will continue to remain deeply committed to and fiercely protective of access to the health care services our communities deserve.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.