Mercy announces capital investment plans for its communities, including Joplin

September 15, 2011

Mercy system is wrapping up a year of systemwide information-gathering and planning sessions and is announcing its resulting capital investment plans for the next decade. Among the communities slated for large-scale Mercy investment is tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo.

Formerly called Sisters of Mercy Health System, the four-state system based in Chesterfield, Mo., is unveiling its plans on a community-by-community basis. Projects include new facilities, expansions, technology upgrades, new telemedicine infrastructure, service improvements, clinician recruitment and new programming, including health education programs for children.

The biggest projects announced by Catholic Health World's press time include:

  • A commitment of at least $950 million to build a new hospital and other services in Joplin. On May 22, a multi-vortex tornado destroyed Mercy's 367-bed St. John's Regional Medical Center along with a wide swath of the southwestern Missouri town.
  • Expanded children's services in nearby Springfield, Mo., as part of an additional $650 million in planned spending in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.
  • A replacement hospital in Washington, Mo.
  • Capital and other improvements in Oklahoma totaling $772 million to include a joint venture in an Oklahoma City rehabilitation hospital.

Missouri and Arkansas
Mercy said it will begin construction in January on its replacement hospital in Joplin. The new campus, located in south Joplin, will open around 2014 with a capacity of 327 beds, and the capability to grow to up to 424 beds.

Mercy plans to erect a second medical services campus in northeast Joplin and a scattering of clinics or other outpatient sites around the city, said Gary Pulsipher, president and chief executive of St. John's.

In Springfield, Mercy is expanding services in its Children's Hospital and emergency room; building a heart center, orthopedic hospital and trauma center; and upgrading its clinic facilities. It also is recruiting more physicians to rural areas outside of Springfield. The system also will develop new medical office space and renovate existing medical, specialty and ancillary facilities around Lebanon, Mo., and will expand sites in Rolla, Mo.

The system said it will spend $236 million in Franklin County, in east central Missouri, in projects that include a replacement hospital for St. John's Mercy Hospital in Washington within the next nine years. Other investments in Franklin County will include a multispecialty medical complex and additional medical buildings in Pacific, St. Clair, Union and other nearby communities. Mercy also will recruit new physicians to the area.

The system said it will invest more than $192 million around Fort Smith, Ark., over seven years. Funds will be used for new clinic space, an orthopedic hospital and expanded treatment space in a cancer center at St. Edward Mercy hospital in Fort Smith.

Oklahoma Mercy will partner with the Centerre Healthcare Corp. on the 50-bed Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital set to open in late 2012 in Oklahoma City. The system also will fund clinician recruitment, telemedicine and health education in rural Oklahoma communities that had expressed in their planning discussions a concern about health care access. Other projects have yet to be announced.

Additional Mercy communities are announcing their capital plans in the coming weeks.

The capital plans were developed through a series of roundtables and other strategic planning meetings Mercy held in 28 communities. It met with community leaders, residents and other stakeholders. Mercy used that input to create what it calls a road map for capital investments over the next decade.


Copyright © 2011 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2011 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

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