Health Care

Transition to Mercy Health Brings Bishop’s Blessing

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — More than 80 guests attended a sun-drenched ceremony at St. Elizabeth Hospital this morning as Bishop George Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown officially blessed and commemorated a transitional moment in the hospital’s history.

With this blessing, the health care system formerly known as Humility of Mary Health Partners, has completed the move to its new name – Mercy Health – evidenced by new signage that now adorns the hospital’s tower.

“Pope Francis has dedicated this year to the virtues of mercy,” the bishop told the crowd shortly before he blessed the new signage and name, a fitting metaphor for the morning’s service.

Mercy Health’s three area hospitals are now renamed Mercy Health — St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, Mercy Health — St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital, and Mercy Health — St. Joseph Warren Hospital.

Mercy Health is Ohio’s largest health system and fourth largest employer. Mercy Health – Youngstown is the second of the seven regional markets to undergo the change, following the transition of Catholic Health Partners to Mercy Health in 2014.

“Our new name represents the way we are working together to improve the health of the communities we serve. Together, Mercy Health’s more than 1,000 physicians and 34,000 employees are committed to making lives better mind, body and spirit,” said Donald Kline, president and CEO of Mercy Health – Youngstown. “While we are changing our name, the region formerly known as HMHP has a solid foundation, one that began more than 100 years ago. And together we will be a partner in this community for centuries to come.”

Mercy Health’s regional markets collectively provide more than $1 million per day in community benefit to those patients who need services, but cannot otherwise afford them, officials noted.

“Throughout our history, Mercy has evolved but has remained committed to continuing the ministry started by our founders,” said Donald Koenig, executive vice president and regional chief operating officer for Mercy Health – Youngstown and president of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. “We are excited to come together under one name as part of a comprehensive effort to transform health care to better serve patients in our communities.”

Koenig said during the ceremony that the hospital has invested not only in its physical footprint and physicians, but also in new technology that is bringing modern health care to the people of the Mahoning Valley and beyond.

Among the growing services the system has embraced is home health care, Koenig noted, gesturing to two Chevrolet Cruze vehicles that home health nurses use to support patients from East Liverpool to Ashtabula.

“Today, we’re taking care of more people at home than we do in our hospitals,” Koenig said.

Mercy Health’s roots date back to the mid-19th century, when religious women answered calls to serve the poor and under-served in Ohio and Kentucky. Entire communities facing serious outbreaks of illnesses depended on these women who came to establish hospitals and nursing schools. During the same period in Cincinnati, Jewish business leaders established a hospital to serve the city’s growing Jewish population.

More than 160 years later – and for the last quarter century – these hospitals, physicians and aligned services have been united in one organization.

Today, with more than 34,000 employees, Mercy Health operates more than 250 health facilities, including 23 hospitals, eight senior living communities, five hospice programs and eight home health agencies as well as Mercy Health Life Flight Network and Mercy College. Truven Health Analytics consistently rates Mercy Health among the nation’s top health systems for clinical quality and efficiency.

Pictured: Bishop George Murry blesses the name change. With him are Donald Kline and Donald Koenig.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.