January 28, 2013
Like all hospitals across the nation, Mercy Medical Center must prepare itself to meet the demands of the new national health care environment. We evaluated how best to steward resources according to our mission to best serve the needs of the community. A critical part of that effort was a careful review of under-utilized services to determine if patient needs could be met at other existing community facilities, and resources could then be used to enhance Mercy’s core services.
As a result of this review, the decision has been made to discontinue Mercy’s inpatient behavioral health services (psychiatric care unit on 5B) effective February 15, 2013.
Mercy’s mission guides it to ensure that community needs are met, and also to focus services where it can deliver the best care most efficiently. Mercy’s review of behavioral health services determined that adequate capacity exists in the community for adult inpatient behavioral health services. Patients will be ably served by other inpatient units in Stark and Summit Counties.
With the advancement of medications and outpatient therapies in behavioral health care, great effort is now being made to care for patients without hospitalizing them. As a hospital, we have experienced that trend and must readjust our care model. We believe we can better serve the community by concentrating resources in other areas.
Mercy’s Emergency Department will continue to triage patients with behavioral health emergencies. After they are stabilized, patients who require hospitalization for behavioral health services will be transferred to the most appropriate facility. Mercy will continue to provide psychiatric consult services to hospitalized patients when requested.
It is difficult to make changes like this and we recognize their impact. Some of the affected employees will be able to apply for other openings at Mercy, and hopefully will remain employed at the Medical Center. We are very proud of the long legacy of Mercy’s patient care in behavioral health and recognize the contributions of those caregivers and support staff.
This action will help Mercy re-deploy resources to further advance patient care in other areas and to further advance processes for quality and patient satisfaction initiatives, which are essential in the new environment that is part of health care reform. It will also allow plans for a new use for the 5B area to fill other critical space needs for the hospital.
Thomas E. Cecconi
President & CEO