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Mercy: Construction is action, not reaction

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JAMES P. LEUTE
December 11, 2011
— Mercy Health System's chief executive officer said it's a mistake to construe ongoing construction projects as desperate acts in the face of competition.

Javon Bea says he has promoted growth and expansion since he arrived in Janesville 22 years ago with the idea to turn the standalone Mercy Hospital into a vertically integrated health care system.


Still, Bea said he understands the perception that Mercy's recent expansion, renovation and construction projects are nothing more than competitive moves to offset the impending opening of the new St. Mary's Janesville Hospital and Dean Clinic-Janesville East.


"If I were in the community and not in health care, I would think that Mercy is doing these things in response to Dean," Bea said. "But the fact of the matter is that Mercy has been doing these types of projects for many years to be able to provide the best care possible to our patients.


" If Dean and St. Mary's hadn't built that hospital, we would still be doing the things that we're doing because we've been doing them for years and years, prior to them coming."


Here, in no particular order, are some of Mercy's ongoing projects.


-- Mercy Clinic East: Bea said patients and community members said they wanted more services on the east side, particularly physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation, rheumatology and ophthalmology.


The 50,000-square-foot, $10 million expansion will feature a new sports medicine and rehabilitation department. It will complement Mercy's sports medicine clinic near Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center on the west side.


Mercy also is expanding its Regional Eye Center to include more exam rooms and is hiring a medical retinologist.


The addition will result in remodeling and renovation of other parts of the clinic, including an expanded pharmacy and technology upgrades.


-- Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center: Bea said the $10 million expansion is a necessary result of extensive hospital renovations that have been going on for years, as well as the addition of a Level II trauma center in 2009.


The project will provide a welcoming entrance to the newly designed patient services area. Features include a more private patient registration area, expanded waiting areas, redesigned and expanded family consultation rooms, a gift shop and a more user-friendly entrance area.


-- Mercy North: Bea said the $6 million project will provide more convenient services to the northeast side and allow for expansion of an emergency department that is severely constrained at the main campus.


The project, which is on a fast track for completion by year's end, would be the first phase of a potential three-part plan that eventually could add specialty clinics and an inpatient hospital to the 24-acre parcel Mercy bought in 1999.


Phase 1 plans call for a building to house what will be known as Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center Emergency North, a 24-hour emergency department that officials said will be an extension of the system's main hospital and trauma center on Mineral Point Avenue.


Also included in phase 1 is Mercy Health System Clinic North, a primary care clinic that's expected to house five physicians and their staffs. It would include a full-service urgent care clinic, 24-hour X-ray imaging, a CT scanner, laboratory services and community and emergency medical services education space.


-- Mercy Walworth Hospital and Medical Center: Bea said the $45 million project will more than triple the hospital's space to 200,000 square feet.


He said the project is part of Mercy's commitment to bring the best care and services to Walworth County.


The project started last year and is expected to be complete next year.


-- Mercy Edgerton Health Center: A $2 million expansion of Mercy Edgerton Health Center will renovate and more than double the clinic's size to 8,300 square feet.


In addition, Bea said Mercy would add physicians.


Those five projects, Bea said, are particularly visible.


He said Mercy has made a variety of systemwide improvements that are sometimes more difficult for people to see but that are equally as important.



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