Growth Report 2019

Mercy Health Eyes Growth Beyond Hospital Walls

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — While St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital and St. Joseph Warren Hospital remain critical components in the region’s access to health care, this year Mercy Health-Youngstown will expand beyond hospital walls.

“The industry is becoming much less hospital-centric,” says Dr. John Luellen, president of Mercy Health-Youngstown. “Community-based ambulatory care has proven to be efficient, patient-centric and high quality, and we see much of our growth acknowledging this trend and extending further into communities.”

Specifically, efforts are underway to align employed Mercy Health physicians with ancillary support services such as X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, laboratory testing and MRI in the communities where the physicians practice and patients reside.

Further driving the organization’s plans in 2019 is leveraging the economies of scale brought about by the 2018 merger of Mercy Health and Bon Secours Health System.

“Locally, our mission and vision hasn’t changed, but being part of a larger ministry allows for robust purchasing practices as well as enhanced clinical abilities,” Luellen says.

Mercy Health expects further growth along the lines of its 2018 acquisition of Prima Healthcare in southern Mahoning County and northern Columbiana County, which occurred concurrently with the expansion of an ambulatory center in Howland.

“This expansion created an enhanced and expanded network of physicians that will create increased access to points of care,”says Luellen. “This remains indicative of the type of growth that we plan to embrace.”

As the region evolves in terms of health care needs, Mercy must respond to accessibility needs, says Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer.

“We embrace and benefit from the adoption of electronic health records, which have become critical in enabling health care information to be shared real-time across the continuum of Mercy Health locations,” he notes.

The health care system also continues to respond to the impact of the closing of Northside Medical Center in Youngstown.

“We’ve become increasingly accountable for the health needs of Mahoning County, and as the sole community provider for much of the tri-county area, we must re-double our focus on the social determinants of health that impact the population of patients we serve,” Kravec says.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.