Mercy Health Network streamlines business processes

April 15, 2016

Mercy Health Network, an Iowa-based health care network formed by Trinity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives 18 years ago, said on March 15 that is has strengthened its operating model to simplify decisions and to streamline business practices.

The two parent systems, both Catholic health care nonprofits, revised their Mercy Health Network joint operating agreement. Dave Vellinga, Mercy Health Network's chief executive, said the new agreement strengthens the strategic partnership between Trinity Health and CHI and allows for the growth of the network. Mercy Health Network includes 12 owned hospitals and 27 critical access hospitals that are affiliated with and/or managed by the network, he said.

Mercy Health Network primarily operates in Iowa but includes one satellite hospital in Nebraska and half ownership in a surgical hospital in South Dakota, he said.

Vellinga said Mercy Health Network will develop its own mission, vision and values statements, and it remains a nonprofit Catholic ministry. The network will move forward with a single integrated strategic plan, integrated financial management, shared operations, shared risk and one governance structure. A new board of seven people will include three representatives of CHI, three representatives of Trinity Health and one representative of Mercy Health Network. Individual community boards at each owned hospital will continue, Vellinga said.

While legacy properties already in the network will remain with each parent health system that owns them, new assets will be owned 50/50 by Englewood, Colo.-based CHI and Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health through Mercy Health Network, he explained. These include the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare hospitals in Iowa that will become part of Mercy Health Network in a transaction expected to close this month. The hospitals are Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo; Sartori Memorial Hospital in Cedar Falls and Mercy Hospital of Franciscan Sisters in Oelwein.

The Catholic sponsorship of Mercy Health Network remains the same, with Trinity Health's Catholic Health Ministries of Livonia and CHI's Catholic Health Care Federation of Englewood continuing in their work as sponsors of the network.

Vellinga said the operating model will allow the network to better integrate population health strategies, information technology, data gathering and analytics.

He said the network is focused on integration to achieve the Triple Aim, to improve patients' experiences of care, to work for the health of populations and to reduce health care costs.


Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.