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Mercy climbs in national rankings

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JAMES P. LEUTE
February 22, 2008
— As one of the nation’s top integrated health care networks, Mercy Health System isn’t resting on its laurels.

Based on its business operations and range of services, the Janesville-based health system ranked 11th in Verispan’s listing of the top 100 integrated health care networks.


Verispan, a health care data and consulting company, has ranked the top 100 of 570 non-specialty, local and regional networks in the United States for the last 11 years. The results were published in the February issue of Modern Healthcare magazine


Last year, Mercy ranked 16th; the year before it was 18th.


Across the top 100, most integrated networks improved in terms of managing occupancy rates and increasing profit margins by cutting costs and eliminating waste, said Subhash Seelam of Verispan.


Javon Bea, Mercy’s president and chief executive officer, said Mercy continues to be near the top of Verispan’s list because it offers the latest in technology and top-notch medical experts.


Generally, integrated health care systems are designed to contain costs while maintaining quality. They generally pursue economies of scale and eliminate redundancies through centralized control systems.


Mercy is an integrated system because it provides a wide range of health care services, including:


-- Primary, specialty, urgent and emergency care


-- Inpatient and outpatient hospitalization


-- Home care and hospice


-- Insurance


The intent is for the services to work together to provide patients with a coordinated and convenient continuum of care.


Bea said Mercy’s success is due in large part to the fact that about 80 percent of the physicians practicing in its facilities are employees.


“The model also allows for physicians to work like they would in a private practice and receive compensation based on how hard they work, while Mercy takes care of the administrative burdens of practice,” he said. “Physicians can now focus on patient care and medicine, rather than dealing with administrative issues.”


Mercy again topped all Wisconsin integrated health care providers. Others on the list included Affinity Health System, Menasha; Gunderson Lutheran Health System, La Crosse; University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Madison; Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee; Monroe Clinic, Monroe; Columbia St. Mary’s, Milwaukee, and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Glendale.


ProMedica Health System in Toledo, Ohio, was No. 1 in this year’s ranking.


The Verispan recognition follows another national recognition. Late last year, Mercy was one of five companies to receive the 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest presidential honor for organizational performance excellence.


Mercy serves more than 1 million people through 64 facilities in 24 southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois communities. It employs more than 285 physicians and nearly 4,000 others.



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