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As Joplin Rebuilds, Admissions 'Strong'

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 18, 2012

On Sunday, 41 patients were transferred during a heavy rain. Other than the damp, Mercy Hospital Joplin CEO/President Gary Pulsipher says the transfer went well. The move came just two days after a string of violent storms spawned dozens of tornadoes in the Midwest. Of late it seems like swaths of violent storms break out every week, so it was understandable when Pulsipher told HealthLeaders Media he is relieved that patients and staff are now safely housed in the component hospital.    

"The storms that worried us Sunday morning were gone by midday. We got our patients moved quickly and without incident," Pulsipher says. "This is truly a facility that can get us through over 200 mph winds. At the old hospital the first thing you notice when you go up and look at it is all the windows are blown out. These new windows are designed around that. Plus we designed safety corridors where staff and patients will be able to go and be free from destruction [like that] of the tornado that hit us almost a year ago."

The component hospital has 55 private rooms that can be switched to semi-private if needed. It boasts a full emergency department with three triage rooms, three trauma rooms, and 18 critical care beds; four surgical rooms; six pediatric rooms; 10 labor and delivery rooms; and a radiology wing with 14 imaging rooms.

"Admissions have been strong. The unit has been busy," Pulsipher says. "We have some beautiful rooms that are much better than at our old hospital that was destroyed. Our ORs are incredible. Our emergency department is gorgeous. We don't have as many inpatient rooms as we used to have, but it is still a very positive experience."

Pulsipher says building costs have made the interim hospital a "purely clinical facility."

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