Mercy, City of Independence Nearing Agreement with St. John Health System
Seeking a comprehensive solution and the most natural partners for continued healthcare delivery in Independence, Mercy leaders have confirmed a preliminary agreement with St. John Health System and the City of Independence to assume operation of local outpatient services.
St. John will provide urgent care and primary care clinics, and diagnostic lab and radiology services in Independence, as well as continue to provide hospital services through Jane Phillips Medical Center. Located in Bartlesville, Okla., Jane Phillips Medical Center is a 140-bed hospital providing extensive medical services, which include cancer, cardiology, diagnostic, surgical, maternal services, and more. St. John Clinic provides access to approximately 500 primary and specialty medical providers in more than 95 convenient locations throughout northeastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas.
Kim Day, interim leader for Mercy Hospital Independence, said a formal agreement is pending with St. John Health System to assume the provision of most outpatient services upon Mercy’s exit at the end of the calendar year. Additionally, the Independence City Commission this week affirmed its support for St. John and its affiliates as the appropriate partner to maintain local health services. The city also announced its intent to negotiate with the health system to determine the full scope of services to be offered and whether corresponding city funding may be available to assist.
“These developments culminate 18 months of diligent effort to secure a solution that would maintain health services for the Independence community,” Day said. “We believe we have found the right partner at the right time with the appropriate resources to offer high-quality care in a manner that is sustainable long-term.”
Effective January 1, 2016, St. John Health System will assume the majority of Mercy’s ambulatory services, including the primary care practices and clinics in both Independence and Cherryvale, the Health for Life community fitness facility and Mercy’s retail pharmacy. St. John will also will assume ownership of Mercy’s medical office building at 900 W. Myrtle. Jane Phillips Medical Center plans to provide lab and X-ray services, re-establish outpatient therapy services and maintain a partnership with the Cancer Center of Kansas to allow cancer services to continue on site in the primary care clinic at 800 W. Laurel.
While immediate plans do not call for the operation of an emergency department, Jane Phillips Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Mike Moore said a free-standing emergency department is part of the longer-range vision for Independence. Initially, St. John Clinic Urgent Care will provide advanced urgent care services, which will offer additional hours and care for more serious health issues than are currently addressed in Mercy’s convenient care clinic. St. John Clinic Urgent Care will be open extended hours seven days a week and offer care for a full range of minor emergencies. Advanced imaging services will be available. St. John Clinic Urgent Care will also provide complete occupational medicine, including pre-employment screenings and worker’s compensation evaluations. Moore said St. John will work directly with local employers to help manage their worker’s compensation issues.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide health services to the community beginning January 1,” Moore said. “In the meantime, we recognize that Independence has a qualified emergency medical service (EMS) that is well- prepared to respond to community emergencies. We already have a very good working relationship, and will continue to ensure patient transfers to Jane Phillips Medical Center and our other hospital facilities are safe and well-managed.”
Moore also said that specific wireless technology will be deployed to Independence city ambulances to help EMS communicate with the Jane Phillips Medical Center emergency department and assist the hospital appropriately prepare for patients en route. He noted that the Independence EMS is already among the top performing area ambulance services in meeting the critical 120-minute “door-to-balloon” window for cardiac patients in need of immediate intervention.
Speaking on behalf of the City of Independence, City Manager Micky Webb said, “In studying the local health care issue in great detail over the past several months, we have a clear understanding that many local residents who seek health services outside of town travel to Jane Phillips Medical Center and St. John Clinic for their care. With this partnership, we believe our community’s health care will be in good hands for many years into the future.”
About St. John Health System
St. John Health System is a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare system founded in 1926. St. John operates hospitals in Tulsa, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Sapulpa and Bartlesville. Other subsidiaries of St. John Health System include St. John Clinic, St. John Clinic Urgent Care Centers and medical complexes in south Tulsa and Claremore. St. John serves more than 3,500 patients every day. St. John is sponsored by Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system.