Janesville78.7°

Mercy Walworth County expansion under way

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Kayla Bunge
June 4, 2010
— Mercy Health System wants to grow with the community and its needs and offer people quality health care close to home.

The health-care provider on Thursday officially broke ground and revealed details about its $45 million expansion of Mercy Walworth Hospital and Medical Center.


Bulldozers pushed dirt at the site under the bright, beating sun. Mercy officials, local elected officials and medical staff dug ceremonial gold and silver shovels into the ground.


They also planted a tree to symbolize the growth of the hospital and the community.


“This project is dedicated to the future of this community and our promise of bringing serious health care close to home,” said Mercy President and CEO Javon Bea.


Plans call for expanding the existing center at the intersection of highways 50 and 67 from 60,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet. The expanded facility will include additional hospital beds, a birthing center, an intensive-care unit, more surgical suites and an outpatient clinic.


Other features will include a cafeteria, chapel and garden; expanded and renovated radiology; physical therapy and pharmacy departments.


Plans also call for adding 70 full-time positions, including 10 physicians.


Mercy conducted surveys and research to learn what services Walworth County residents wanted nearby, Bea said. The health-care provider is expanding the facility to bring more services close to home, he said.


Many patients have to go to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn for some services—to deliver babies, for example—and their doctors have to travel to see them there, Bea said. Patients who need more serious medical attention might be transported to Mercy Walworth, and then later stabilized and transported to Mercy Hospital in Janesville, he said.


“Time is of the essence (for some injuries and other health issues,” he said. “Knowing there’s a full-service emergency room and intensive-care unit to back it up all nearby is comforting.”


Patients soon will be able to see their doctors, receive treatment and access expanded services all under one roof, and all within just a few miles of their homes, Bea said.


Mercy believes the expansion can be a catalyst for economic development in the county, Bea said. The contractor plans to hire 350 to 400 local laborers to work on the project.


Local hotels, restaurants and stores will serve the hospital and its employees, patients and their families and others, he said.


Mercy Walworth Hospital and Medical Center will remain open throughout the construction. The project will be conducted in phases to minimize disruptions to patients and staff.


The project is scheduled to be complete in 2013.



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