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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • St. John's announces $1 billion Newton County location

  • The new St. John’s Mercy Center will be at I-44 and Main Street, Joplin, Mercy officials announced Tuesday night at Joplin’s Holiday Inn.


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  • The new St. John’s Mercy Center will be at I-44 and Main Street, Joplin, Mercy officials announced Tuesday night at Joplin’s Holiday Inn.
    The hospital, located in Newton County, will be a state-of-the art facility and will cost up to $950 million.
    “Obviously, we made the commitment to rebuild sometime back,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy. “(Tuesday), we revealed the exact location where our new south hospital will be. We also made a commitment that we think that the community is growing in the northeast direction and that we want to see a hospital campus in the northeast part of Joplin as well. So really, a commitment to build two hospitals in the community and all of the connecting clinical services that goes with it, physician offices and that sort of thing.”
    The May 22 tornado devastated the community of Joplin and also destroyed St. John’s Mercy Hospital, which was located on Maiden Lane.
    “We plan to break ground January 2012 and open the new hospital, as well as a secondary northeast campus, in 2014,” Britton said.
    The announcement came nearly three months after the EF-5 tornado.
    Committed to the community since 1885 when the Sisters of Mercy order first provided much-needed health care to local miners, St. John’s today provides:
    •  An integrated electronic health record that preserved sensitive patient information and was instantly available after the tornado;
    •  A 60-bed field hospital, a tent-like structure, up and running within one week of the tornado;
    •  A transition currently under way to a hard-sided modular facility as field hospital comes down;
    •  A component hospital by spring 2012 which allows St. John’s Mercy to regain its Level II Trauma Center designation;
    •  A promise to keep all Joplin co-workers on the Mercy payroll.
    “There was never a thought to close down and walk away,” St. John’s Mercy President Gary Pulsipher said. “In fact, Mercy immediately pledged to keep more than 2,000 St. John’s Mercy co-workers employed. That’s the kind of commitment that makes me proud to be Mercy.”
    As a part of the new plans under way, Mercy will rebuild with 327 in-patient beds to support the region, with a planned expansion up to 424 beds. Plans include medical surgical, critical care, women’s/children’s (labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms), behavioral health and rehab.
    “We think that is a great location, the visibility off of I-44,” Britton said. “One of the things that we wanted to make sure that we did was have to enhance access, not just for the people in Joplin, but for the whole region. This is really a regional area, regional hub and healthcare is a big part of that economic hub and we want to be sure that anybody driving up and down I-44 knows that the hospital is there, the emergency services, the trauma facilities and services are there.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Think about how long it took to build up St. John’s. We are talking about replacing that in three years,” he said. “So the site was a critical choice and important for the community from many perspectives, but certainly a big economic stimulus for the community, so we wanted to get it right.”
    Since the tornado, the hospital has continued to provide services, including moving in a MASH unit.
    “We have not stopped serving. Seven days after the tornado, we opened the field hospital. We are in the process of building modular units to replace that, those will be open in another couple of months,” said Britton. “Then right after that, we begin the construction of a component hospital. So it is a steel structure set on a concrete foundation assembled in pieces and brought here that will open in the spring and will be the permanent facility we will use until the new hospital is open in 2014.”
    Officials also discussed future plans about the hospital site that was devastated by the tornado.
    “Our desire to make that a gift to the community to create the appropriate memorial on that site as well as some other ideas that community members that shared with other good uses for that site,” Britton said.
    There were no plans announced on where the other location would be situated.
    “We are still working through the details. I think in the next six weeks or so, we will be able to be real clear about the northeast location,” Britton said.

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