Growth has been a part of Mercy Springfield Communities’ history since it began as St. John’s Hospital in 1891 with three nuns, a mortgage and a mission.
Fourteen years later, the founding sisters had expanded to a 40-bed hospital. In 1952, the hospital moved to its current location, at the National Avenue and Cherokee Street intersection, where it has undergone one transformation after another.
Today, the hospital employs nearly 9,000 locally and has expanded to four regional hospitals, in Lebanon, Mountain View, Aurora and Cassville – and more than 300 Mercy clinic and outpatient facilities.
This expansion is a reflection of the system’s desire to better serve communities, says David Argueta, president of Mercy Hospitals Springfield. That expansion continues with the recent groundbreaking to replace Mercy Clinic Family Medicine-South Creek and the opening of a new primary care clinic a few years ago at Scenic Avenue and Republic Road.
During the pandemic, despite treating unprecedented numbers of patients, work on the $110 million Mercy Heart Hospital was completed. It brought together all cardiac services in one place and introduced advanced services such as the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation technology, which was used to treat those with the most severe cases of COVID-19. Other recent projects include the Mercy Kids Emergency Room, a $7.5 million job, and multispecialty clinics in Branson, $19 million, and Bolivar, $26.9 million.
Argueta, who recently was appointed co-lead of Mercy Springfield Communities after the elimination of the president position held by Craig McCoy, says Mercy will continue to build where necessary. Among the changes, the health system is looking more closely at increasing the number of providers, particularly primary care, throughout the region. Mercy also is seeking ways to continue to increase access to virtual options for patients as well as employees, he says.
A new app, Mercy Works on Demand, allows nurses to find shifts where they’re available. They can work as little as four hours or full time. The idea was born out of the idea of traveling nurses, who were well compensated for travel, but didn’t like the fact they were taken far from family and friends. The app is designed to give staff similar flexibility as traveling nursing without the travel.
“We’ve always had open doors, but we’re really trying to be more intentional about how we listen actively to hear from our co-workers,” Argueta says. “We want to know what will make a difference in how we care for them so we can care for our patients better.”
Element Springfield South opened; Outlaw Gentlemen Barbershop added a second location; and wellness studio Stretch Zone launched.