Mercy Health, formerly known as the Sisters of Mercy Health System, provides a range of health care and social services through its network of facilities and service organizations. The organization operates more than 30 acute care hospitals (including two specialty heart hospitals) with almost 3,700 licensed beds, as well as 200 outpatient facilities in four midwestern states. Its hospital groups include facilities for nursing homes, medical practices, and outpatient centers. Mercy Health also operates Resource Optimization & Innovation (ROi), its industry-leading health care supply chain organization, and health outreach organizations in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Mercy Health's outreach efforts include Mercy Ministries of Laredo, a group providing primary health care and social services to residents of Laredo, Texas. It previously owned a hospital system in Laredo (formerly known as Mercy Health Center), but sold the system to Community Health Systems.
In New Orleans, Mercy Health sponsors Mercy Family Center, which provides mental health services, and in Mississippi it funds a health care advocacy group.
In 2011 the system held more than $4 billion in assets, with operating revenue also exceeding $4 billion. The system's network of 1,600 physicians performed 350,000 surgeries and handled a half-a-million emergency room visits. Also that year the organization the company changed its name from Sisters of Mercy Health System to simply Mercy Health to unify its brand identity. A number of facilities previously operating under names such as St. John's, St. Edward's, and St. Joseph's were renamed under the Mercy brand during 2011 and 2012, including Mercy Hospital St. Louis and Mercy Hospital Springfield. The branding efforts were part of Mercy Health's plan to create an integrated regional network that shares patient information and gives greater care access to consumers.
In 2009 Sisters of Mercy implemented an electronic health record (EHR) system across its system. By the end of the year, more than 1,000 physicians and six hospitals had EHRs. In recent years the hospital has undergone a number of expansions and has established several new outpatient services in multiple locations throughout its service area. It has also undertaken facility replacements, renovations, expansions, and information technology implementations (including a $60 million data center). For instance in 2009 the system expanded by assuming sponsorship of St. John's Mercy Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, and began development of the Mercy Center for Innovative Care (CIC), a physical and virtual research space designed to expand access in rural areas to subspecialists, support primary care, and promote research and training. In May 2011 a tornado destroyed Mercy's St. John's Regional Medical Center, but by the next year, plans were underway to build a new (rebranded) Mercy Hospital Joplin with $1 billion dedicated to the task.
Despite its various expansions, the Mercy system experienced the same industry challenges as its health care brethren in 2009 and 2010, including escalating medical and pharmaceutical costs and increasing self-pay bad debts (uninsured patients who leave their medical bills unpaid). Several of the health system's facilities saw a decline in discharges. Physician office visits and other outpatient visits (imaging, lab, etc.) increased, while emergency room visits decreased slightly. A decrease in ER visits is not necessarily a negative financial indicator, since many of the ERs visitors are uninsured, self-pay patients who often contribute to a system's bad debt levels.
Sisters of Mercy sold its managed care arm, Mercy Health Plans to Coventry Health Care in 2010 in order to focus on its outreach and other health care operations.
The organization was founded by the Sisters of Mercy of the St. Louis Regional Community in 1986 and operated under that model until 2008, when its sponsorship was transferred from the Sisters of Mercy of the St. Louis Regional Community to a new entity, Mercy Health Ministry. The shift to the new sponsorship organization was made to allow lay members to join the Sisters of Mercy in sponsoring the ministry. It also reflected the growing number of lay people holding executive positions at the system's hospitals and on the board of directors. – less