Top Doctors 2016

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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Back on the Court | Fit for Life | Health at Your Fingertips | Cutting Edge | Above Par | Working Together
At your Service | Beating the Odds | A Dose of Innovation | 417-Land Hospitals

Working Together

CoxHealth and Mercy Health systems are commonly seen as competing hospitals, but both systems have the same goal in mind: keeping 417-land healthy. To achieve that, they collaborate on a few business ventures that benefit both hospitals and the patients they treat. Here are three areas where CoxHealth and Mercy come together. 

The commercial laundry facility receives around 40,000 pounds of linen a day.

Enterprise Laundry

Mercy hospitals established their own laundry facilities in the mid 1980s, but they knew they had the capacity to wash more than just bedsheets. CoxHealth was going through its own vendor at the time, but in 1999 the laundry vendor closed, and Cox was left trying to find somewhere to do laundry. Mercy approached Cox about partnering to save both hospitals time and money, and Enterprise Laundry became a joint venture. The operation is run by a board of directors that has even representation from both hospitals. Collectively, Enterprise processes roughly 12 million pounds of laundry each year. Steve Kemp, the vice president of support service for Mercy Health, says the partnership has saved both hospitals substantial amounts by eliminating a third party. Mercy is the managing partner, so all employees of the plant are Mercy employees. But CoxHealth is always consulted when there’s a need for capital purchases or decisions. The commercial laundry facility receives around 40,000 pounds of linens a day. The employees separate the laundry by hand, but from there it doesn’t touch hands again until it’s removed from the dryers. The machines recognize the types of linens, and the sterilization and drying time are calculated by type and weight. The laundry is loaded back into carts and onto the trucks to deliver it back to all the system hospitals across 417-land. “We’re certainly competitive, but at the end of the day we have a responsibility to our community to provide good care,” says Ronnie Lightfoot, the environmental services director for CoxHealth. “What we save by partnering can be reinvested back into Enterprise or passed onto other areas and needs for facilities, staffing and resources.” 


Ozarks Neuro Rehab Center

For patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, stroke or other neurological disorder, Ozark Neuro Rehab Center is a crucial link between their hospital treatment and returning to their homes, jobs and lives. The center was established in 2001 and is governed under Ozark Health Ventures, a community service partnership between CoxHealth and Mercy. Patients are treated here with an interdisciplinary therapy approach. They are seen up to five times a week on an outpatient basis. The staff is composed of a case manager, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and a psychologist. Programs are targeted toward an individual patient’s needs and goals, and may include help with daily tasks and communication skills to help reintegrate them into the community after their injury. Mark Huslig, the administrative director for Mercy therapy services, says ONR was created out of a mutual need for both Mercy and CoxHealth patients to have an extensive day program approach to therapy. Staff members and management come from both hospitals, with positions being available to both CoxHealth and Mercy employees. ONR also has one overseeing medical director from each hospital. The center has an average of 15 patients going through treatment programs at one time and is focused on helping patients reach their goals for community reentry, Rehna Logan says. Logan is the center’s director for daily operations. She says the partnership greatly benefits the community. “It’s truly a collaborative effort here,” she says. “They come together for the greater good.” 


Cancer Research for the Ozarks

“This is an excellent example of how Cox and Mercy collaborate,” says Marilyn Bauer, the director of Cancer Research for the Ozarks. CRO was founded in 1987 by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. It is also governed under Ozark Health Ventures, and has senior leadership from both the Mercy health system and the CoxHealth system. In 2014, CRO was awarded a five-year grant of $5.2 million to participate in the NCI Community Oncology Research Program. This allows CRO to participate in cancer research studies and National Cancer Institute clinical trials right here in 417-land, so patients in the community don’t have to travel as far for the treatment they need. CRO works with a wide network of regional hospitals, including Mercy Hospital Joplin, Freeman Health System, CoxHealth Branson, Central Care Cancer Center in Bolivar, Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Mercy Hospital St. Louis and Good Samaritan in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Most of the funding comes from the grant, including salaries for both Mercy employees and CoxHealth employees who work there. CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield evenly subsidize all remaining costs at the end of each grant year. Because the dollars are specifically appointed, CRO provides cancer care that is essentially cost neutral for both partners, says Dr. Carlson, the principal investigator for CRO and a gynecological oncologist for Mercy. Carlson says that the partnership is necessary for either hospital to be able to conduct research. 


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