Alegent Health to Focus on Health Care Needs of “Iowa’s Leading Edge” with Expansion of Mercy Hospital
Release Date: 03/29/2007

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Initiative will increase capacity of intensive care unit, upgrade operating rooms and improve hospital infrastructure COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – The need for additional health care services in Pottawattamie County and the surrounding region will be addressed with a major expansion and other improvements for patients at Alegent Health’s Mercy Hospital. The $27 million investment stems from a comprehensive, year-long initiative involving physicians, staff, patients and the community to identify local needs and design the next generation of health care. As a result of this process and the recognition of community growth and growing demand for health care services, Alegent Health determined that Mercy Hospital will face a significant need for additional intensive care services, operating room capacity and surgical preparation and recovery rooms over the next several years. As part of the project, newly designed parking facilities and more convenient access to the hospital also will further Alegent Health’s goal of delivering patient-centered care that efficiently and effectively addresses consumer needs. Mercy Hospital’s legacy of delivering compassionate care to those in need dates to 1887 and the planned improvements will set the stage for implementation of future enhancements. “This capital investment in Mercy Hospital is a testament of Alegent Health’s commitment to the region to ensure that the health care we provide is tailored to our patients’ needs today, tomorrow and into the next generation,” said Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor. “We also believe it is important for the community to understand that in our drive to define and deliver the next generation of health care, our expenditures on bricks and mortar will be only part of the equation. By investing in our people and our processes, we will expand our capacity for additional innovation. Yet we can’t do it alone. We must rely on the generosity of our community to ensure we have the resources necessary to build the next generation of health care.” Highlights of the Mercy Hospital project include:
  • The addition of four intensive care beds and renovation of existing space for a total of 16 beds in the intensive care unit.
  • Reconfiguration and expansion of the surgical area to enhance operating room suites to include the latest technology. Patient preparation and recovery stations also will be added to improve patient comfort and monitoring before and after surgery.
  • Entryway improvements and additions to ensure convenient and welcoming access for patients, their families and community visitors to Mercy Hospital.
  • Additional surface parking to serve outpatients visiting the hospital’s ambulatory services center.
  • Infrastructure improvements that will enhance the energy efficiency and mechanical functions of the building while paving the way for future growth.
  • Marie Knedler, vice president and chief operating officer of Mercy Hospital, said the improvements build on the hospital’s commitment to faith-based care and the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. As southwest Iowa’s largest full-service hospital dedicated to the health care needs of the more than 200,000 people living in the region, Mercy Hospital has focused on quality and innovation consistent with the mission of Alegent Health to deliver exceptional care for patients with both common and complex health needs. Mercy Hospital earned Magnet status in 2005 – evidence of its focus on high-quality, patient centered care. Out of 6,000 hospitals nationwide, Mercy Hospital ranks in the top three percent to receive this prestigious distinction. The Magnet Recognition Program serves as the ultimate benchmark for consumers to measure the quality of nursing care they can expect to receive. Demonstrating its leadership in providing quality, cardiovascular care in the region, Mercy Hospital recently became the first hospital from Lincoln, Neb. to Des Moines, Iowa to receive accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Providing further proof of the quality of care patients can expect to receive, The Iowa Foundation for Medical Care also recently ranked Mercy Hospital number one out of 34 hospitals and health systems in the state of Iowa in the Core Measure initiative for heart failure, Acute MI and pneumonia. In addition, Mercy Hospital achieved top performer status in the CMS, Premier Inc., pay-for-performance project, ranking in the top 20 percent in the country for heart failure, pneumonia and hip and knee replacement. "The opportunity that we have in western Iowa right now is tremendous. The quality of health care is becoming an increasingly important factor to both those living in our community and those moving to our community. These additions to Mercy Hospital, along with the quality awards it has received in the past couple of years, further establish Mercy as a top notch hospital in this region. The investment in not only infrastructure, but also people, is important for both today and future generations," said Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan. Design work on the Mercy Hospital expansion project is expected to continue through January 2008 with construction to be completed in phases from January to May 2009. Alegent Health has selected Holland Basham Architects, headquartered in Omaha, in partnership with HKS of Dallas, Tex. as architectural partners for this project. Meyers-Carlisle-Leapley (MCL), headquartered in Omaha and McCarthy, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri will serve as the general contractors for construction. Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based health care system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,200 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 8,500 employees. Alegent Health is making health care better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than a hundred years ago. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, home care and behavioral health. For more information about Alegent Health, visit or call 1-800-ALEGENT.