Published on December 07, 2012

Progress through Partnership

Mercer County hospital, nursing home improve under Genesis management

ALEDO, Ill. -- Call it a rebirth. Progress through partnership is underway at Mercer County Hospital and Mercer County Nursing Home.

Medical services have expanded. The rural hospital’s medical staff has grown. Area residents can stay closer to home to receive care and surgeries that previously were not available. A long-awaited, multimillion dollar renovation to modernize the facility will begin in early 2013.

Meanwhile, the nursing home recently received the highest quality rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and looks forward to a renovation of its own.

Just three years ago, “progress” was not a word often associated with Mercer County Hospital in its more recent 60-year history.

With mounting debt over the years and the need for a renovation to meet state mandates, the county-owned critical access hospital struggled to remain financially viable. Like many small hospitals in America, it became increasingly difficult to keep pace with compliance issues and technological needs, without shifting resources away from patient care.

Today the hospital, and more recently the nursing home, serve as a success story on partnership and progress.

Genesis began managing the 22-bed Mercer County Hospital in April 2009 in the wake of deep financial problems at the hospital and the Hospital Governing Board’s decision to relate to a health system. With that management agreement, Genesis brought the expertise of a larger “Top 100 Health System,” along with support in information technology, medical clinical management, quality and patient safety improvement programs, and executive leadership.

“Throughout our three-and-a-half year relationship, we have focused on continuing to provide high quality, compassionate care to hospital patients and nursing home residents,” said Ted Rogalski, Administrator of Mercer County Hospital.

“We feel that a unified system of health care that combines our hospital and nursing home will benefit our patients and residents across the entire continuum of care and position our organization well for future success. We would like to thank the people of Mercer County for their support during this transition.”

Improvements at Mercer County Hospital and Mercer County Nursing Home under Genesis management have included:

Highest quality rating

The 92-bed Mercer County Nursing Home recently earned 5 stars -- the highest rating -- from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Five stars is the most respected rating and is based on health inspections, staffing and quality measures.

“We believe in high-quality resident care and set a standard of excellence in everything we do,” said Myron Higgins, Administrator, Mercer County Nursing Home. “Every member of our staff is dedicated to our residents and their families.”

Genesis plans to make more than $1 million in improvements to the nursing home, including remodeling the 40-year-old rooms for residents and investing capital needed for federally mandated computer systems required by Medicare.

Improved facilities

The change to Genesis ownership will move financing forward on an $11.7 million renovation of the hospital, set to begin in February 2013. The project will upgrade the infrastructure, enhance medical technology and expand outpatient services to meet required safety standards and improve the patient experience.

“Most important, these improvements will ensure the hospital will continue to serve the long-term health and wellness needs of our community,” Rogalski said.“The renovation will also benefit the economic vitality of the community through the retention of 149 employees and the addition of more than 100 new construction jobs.“

The 18-month renovation will have an economic impact of more than $25 million to local communities through the addition of jobs and the capital expenditures with the building project. The project will be completed in three phases and allow all services to continue operations during renovation. A significant component will be replacing the hospital’s heating, ventilation and airconditioning system.

• The first phase will include establishing a new entrance and centralized patient registration area, located at the front of the hospital. All patient rooms will be updated, which is expected to be completed in seven months.

• In the second phase, Radiology and Surgery will be renovated and expanded to accommodate growth and advancement in medical technology. This phase is expected to be completed in five months.

• The final phase will be completed in six months with the renovation and expansion of the Emergency Room, Laboratory and Physical Therapy.

Expanded services

With improved finances also has come service expansion. By partnering with the Genesis Sleep Disorders Center, patients can undergo a sleep evaluation by a registered sleep technologist at the hospital. Evaluations are then sent electronically to Davenport’s accredited sleep center and read by board-certified sleep physicians.

Other service expansions have included renovating the Medical Associates Clinic to allow for additional specialists and a better home for podiatry services. Occupational health services are being provided to local employers General Grind & Machine and Meminger Metal Finishing. Genesis also has made quality and patient safety a No. 1 priority and brings those improvement processes to Mercer County.

Genesis Health Group, the region’s largest multi-specialty physician group, has brought expanded surgical services to the hospital and physician practice management and expertise in billing and information technology to the Medical Associates Clinic. Recently, Genesis Health Group physician Robbie Padgett, M.D., began serving patients at the hospital, along with nurse practitioner Tara Gengler, APN.

“We’re excited about the advances that already have been made at Mercer County Hospital and Mercer County Nursing Home, and look forward to serving the residents of the Mercer County region for many years to come,” Rogalski concluded.

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