Mercy Health Fills Gaps in Access to Care

By Jonathon Fauvie, Communications & PR Manager
YOUNGSTOWN – As health-care trends across the nation continue to drive both access and delivery of care outside of a traditional hospital setting, health-care organizations must remain agile to these market dynamics while remaining focused on quality, affordability and access. 

While St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital and St. Joseph Warren Hospital remain critical access points in providing the region with high quality health care, Mercy Health-Youngstown begins the new decade with growth that continues to respond to the changing needs of Valley families. 

Those changes include additional points of care, physicians and advanced practice providers as well as enhanced offerings of new technologies and therapies not traditionally offered close to home. 

“People require access to care when and where they need it most,” says Dr. John Luellen, market president, Mercy Health-Youngstown. “Our growth and continued expansion are driven by one factor, our patients. Whether that means new technology, therapies or a new site of care, the patient remains at the core of our decision making.” 

Mercy Health offers 11 unplanned care sites, defined as emergency departments, urgent or walk-in care locations that serve specific medical needs of patients. 

In 2019, the five Mercy Health walk-in care locations, which provide no-appointment primary care visits for illnesses such as colds, fevers and more, saw more than 55,000 patient visits. 

Sickness doesn’t just happen Monday though Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; therefore, the Mercy Health walk-in care model offers extended evening and weekend hours, further making health care easier for families. 

As Mercy Health continues to meet patients where they are, 2020 will see an increased emphasis on access in Columbiana County, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of Firestone Healthcare, a Columbiana- based primary care practice, and in 2018, what was Prima Healthcare. 

Through strategic growth such as this, Mercy Health offers the most comprehensive network of health services and more than 900 aligned physicians practicing throughout the Mahoning Valley. In fact, nearly 130 new physicians and advanced- practice providers were added in 2019, ensuring a physician is never more than a few miles away. 

“Our mission has remained the same for more than a century and today, we continue to use population health data to clearly define and address needs of those we serve,” Luellen says.

As the Mahoning Valley continues to evolve in demand for health-care services and needs it has, Mercy Health continues to respond to accessibility needs.

“As referenced by the more than 220,000 emergency visits we saw in 2019, the demand and need for alternative points of care continues to grow,” says Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer at Mercy Health-Youngstown. “Our vision for a healthier  community remains rooted in making sure people have the right level of care, when and where they need it.” 

The additional volume seen at Mercy Health as a result of the closing of Northside Hospital in Youngstown has allowed the hospital system to become even more nimble in serving patients with an emphasis on getting those seeking services to the right level of care more efficiently.  

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

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.