Mercy Medical Center North Iowa
Mercy Health Network Receives CMS Innovation Award
Start Date

MASON CITY—Mercy Health Network (MHN) Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and their allied clinics will begin transitioning to value based care thanks to a $10.1 million CMS Health Care Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The 25 CAH facilities and 73 clinics are located in 37 counties in Iowa and Nebraska. They are affiliated with MHN members— Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines and Mercy Medical Center – Sioux City.

The CAH hospitals in North Iowa included in this grant are members of Mercy Health Network – North Iowa and network partners of Mercy – North Iowa; they are:

  • Franklin General Hospital, Hampton
  • Hancock County Health System, Britt
  • Hansen Family Hospital, Iowa Falls
  • Kossuth Regional Health Center, Algona
  • Mercy Medical Center – New Hampton
  • Mitchell County Regional Health Center, Osage
  • Palo Alto Health System, Emmetsburg
  • Regional Health Services of Howard County, Cresco

The grant application and research for the proposal was coordinated by Mercy Foundation in Des Moines and Mercy ACO.

“This grant will have a major impact on care delivered in rural Iowa,” said Mercy Health Network President and CEO David Vellinga. “The creation of MHN in 1998 by Catholic Health Initiatives and Catholic Health East | Trinity Health began the process of integrating care in way that improved access to existing services which improved quality, safety and helped control costs. This grant will support our continued efforts to develop targeted and innovative methods of care by using information on the overall wellness, chronic conditions and health care needs in rural Iowa.”

"We are extremely excited about this grant and the potential impact it will have on the health of North Iowa," said Chris Harff, Vice President, Network Development, Mercy – North Iowa. "This will augment the practices that are already well underway in North Iowa."

Mercy Des Moines Senior Vice President and Chief Accountable Care Officer Dr. David Swieskowski will lead the project, which has the potential to benefit rural care in other parts of the country.

“Critical Access Hospitals are vital to their communities and the Iowa health care delivery system,” said Dr. Swieskowski. “Most CAH facilities have had no involvement with Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) which will play a major role in developing health care delivery of the future. This grant will allow us to help CAH organizations build an infrastructure that will allow them to begin gathering meaningful data on the people and communities they serve. This will position CAH facilities so they can participate in value-based care and become involved in the care redesign process. Access should be expanded to the right mix of primary and specialty care that best meets the specific care needs of their patients. CAH facilities will also be able to benefit from shared savings generated by working with an ACO.”

More than 160,000 people could see benefits through better management of chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. This project will use the in-clinic health coach model developed by Mercy Clinics. This model has been successful in delivering better care and controlling cost. It’s still being used successfully by Mercy ACO. Health coaches are achieving good results through education, prevention activities and encouraging better medication adherence by patients.