Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Celebrates 120 of Health & Healing In Southwest Iowa
Release Date: 09/20/2007

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa— In 1887, Sisters of Mercy, Mary Vincent McDermott and Mary Magdalen Bennett began a hospital in the Council Bluffs community rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Their first hospital was a rented house on the corner of Fourth Street and Ninth Avenue. One Hundred and twenty years later, Alegent Health Mercy Hospital is celebrating its rich heritage and faith-based traditions of healing in Southwest Iowa during the week of September 24th, and will be joined by Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), one of Alegent Health’s sponsors. “Alegent Health Mercy Hospital is a world-class facility which embodies the spirit of selfless service to heal the body, mind and spirit of every individual. We take this commitment very seriously and feel blessed to be able to provide excellent care for our Southwest Iowa communities,” said Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Marie Knedler. The 120th Anniversary begins on Monday, September 24 with a leadership breakfast in the hospital’s Rotunda room at 7:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony held in the main atrium at 8:30 a.m. Alegent Health is pleased to welcome CHI President and CEO Kevin Lofton to our festivities. He will offer his sentiments during the ceremony, and will help bless a commemorative cross to be hung in the hospital marking the occasion. Lofton is a widely recognized leader in health care and is also the 2007 chairman of the American Hospital Association’s board of trustees and serves as a key advocate for nearly 500 CHI member hospitals. Lofton oversees the Denver-based CHI which is the second-largest faith-based health system in the nation, and includes 73 hospitals throughout 19 states, employing 65,000 people. “We are truly grateful that Mr. Lofton could join us to help commemorate this momentous occasion. Alegent Health remains faithful to our Mission and deeply committed to the legacies entrusted to us by our sponsors CHI and Immanuel Health Systems – with roots that began 120 years ago by the Sisters of Mercy,” said Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor. Mercy Hospital formed in 1887 with the support of local clergy and community. Throughout its 120-year history the hospital has continued to innovate and grow in order to meet the needs of resident throughout southwestern Iowa. Most recently that change has been in the form of a $25 million renovation and expansion project which will provide 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.
  • In addition to our multi-million dollar investment, Mercy Hospital also continues to raise the bar on providing high-quality health care for every individual show by several achievements including:
  • Earning Chest Pain Accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Mercy Hospital was the first hospital from Lincoln, Neb. to Des Moines, Iowa to receive accreditation. This distinction provides further proof of the quality of care patients can expect to receive.
  • Ranking 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 by The Iowa Foundation for Medical Care also recently ranked Mercy Hospital number one
  • Achieving 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.
  • Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 8,600 employees. Alegent Health is making healthcare 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