The Bulletin is a bi-weekly publication for employees and friends of Mercy Medical Center VOL 06 ISSUE 24 | DECEMBER 1, 2006
HAPPY HOLIDAYS SISTERS OF MERCY CELEBRATE 175 YEARS
ecember 12 will be a special day for Mercy Medical lasted 10 more years, her deep faith inspired thousands of
D Center and the women religious who established the
hospital more than a century ago – it marks the 175th
women around the world to dedicate their lives to helping
the poor, the sick and the educationally disadvantaged. By
anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy by 1843, the order had established its first foundation in
Catherine McAuley in 1831. America, and 50 years later, the Sisters of Mercy welcomed
Catherine, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1778 on the first patient to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.
the brink of Europe's Industrial Revolution, experienced Today, in their 175th Jubilee year, nearly two dozen Sisters
social and economic hardships as a child. After both of her of Mercy still live, work or volunteer at Mercy Medical
parents died from illness, Catherine was shuffled from Center or one of its affiliates. “They continue to set
relative to relative. She finally came to live with a wealthy wonderful examples for us to follow,” said Matt Garcia,
T o celebrate the blessings of this
special time of year, all Mercy
Family members are invited to enjoy a
childless couple – the Callaghans – in 1803, and began
ministering to the poor and the sick in the neighborhood.
Appalled by the widespread exploitation of workers –
COO and administrator of Bishop Drumm Retirement
Center, where nine Sisters of Mercy live and two work.
“There has always been and continues to be a wonderful
complimentary holiday meal. At especially women and children – and the terrible living relationship between the Sisters, staff and residents. We are
Mercy's Main Campus, meals will be conditions they had to endure, Catherine dreamed of truly blessed to have them here.”
served in the Marketplace & Grille on building a place that would serve as a school for the poor,
the following dates: an orphanage and a hostel and training center for
vulnerable young women. She was able to turn that vision
Wednesday, Dec. 6: into reality in 1822, after William Callaghan died and left
10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 4:45 - 7 p.m. her his entire estate.
After opening the first House of Mercy, many likeminded
Thursday, Dec. 7: women joined Catherine in her quest to help those less
1 - 3 a.m. fortunate. It soon became clear that God was calling them
to this life of service, and on Dec. 12, 1831, at the age of 53,
Saturday, Dec. 9: Catherine and two of her companions professed their
vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, as well as a special The Sisters of Mercy will celebrate their 175th Anniversary on Dec. 12 this
Box lunches distributed to weekend
vow of mercy to serve the poor, sick and ignorant. year. The order founded Mercy Hospital in Des Moines in 1893, and today
staff their presence reminds us of our mission to provide the best health care to every
The Congregation of the Religious Sisters of Mercy was patient who comes to us in need. Pictured above: Sisters Martina Woulfe and
Karen Yarkosky practice the healing ministry of Catherine McAuley by serving
thus born, and although Catherine's life as a nun only the residents of Bishop Drumm Retirement Center each day.
The holiday gift coupons that were
distributed with the Nov. 17 paychecks
may be redeemed at these times for a
special gift. MERCY RECEIVES NATIONAL MEDAL
Employees at Mercy Capitol, Mercy
Franklin, Bishop Drumm and Mercy OF HONOR FOR ORGAN DONATION
Clinics will celebrate at times deter- ercy Medical Center has been awarded a Medal of and families who give the gift of life, 13 donors have posi-
mined by those locations (see the back
of your holiday gift coupon for details).
M Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services for its successful efforts to educate the
tively impacted the lives of 59 people so far this year.
“Mercy is to be congratulated for its efforts in meeting
public about organ donation. The prestigious award was and exceeding the Collaborative goals,” said Suzanne
presented to 371 hospitals and 57 organ procurement Conrad, CEO of the Iowa Donor Network. “The awarding
INSIDE THIS ISSUE organizations nationwide that achieved life-saving organ of the Medal of Honor is a testament to your work and to
donation rates of 75 percent or more for a sustained the giving nature of Iowans and their brave decisions to
MTRA Record Volumes ...... PAG E 2 twelve-month period. consent to donations when a life is lost.”
Mercy is a member of the Organ Transplant
Child Life .................... PAG E 3 Breakthrough Collaborative – a partnership created in
2004 to help hospitals and organ procurement organiza-
Starbucks is Coming ......... PAG E 4 tions increase organ donation rates. Two years ago, Mercy's
success rate in asking for and receiving organ donations
was 46 percent, but through the hard work of the
Transplant Services team, that rate has climbed to 80 per-
cent today (compared to a national average of 58 percent).
According to the Iowa Donor Registry, more than 93,000
Americans are currently waiting for a life-saving organ
transplant, including nearly 400 in Iowa. Thanks to the (L-R): Medical Staff President-elect Dr. Jose Angel; current Medical Staff
President and transplant surgeon Dr. Cass Franklin; Mercy President &
efforts of the surgeons, physicians and staff of Mercy's CEO Dave Vellinga; Iowa Donor Network CEO Suzanne Conrad; and
Mercy Transplant Coordinator Liana Frost accept the National Medal of
Transplant Services team, as well as the generous patients Honor on behalf of Mercy Medical Center.
MERCY NUMBERS MATTER, BUT IT'S
CENTER THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
arm, compassionate, knowledgeable… these are
The Mission of Mercy Medical
W just a few words that cancer patients and their
families use to describe the physicians and staff at Mercy
very hard to make each patient's treatment as positive and
comfortable as possible.”
A typical radiation treatment schedule lasts six weeks.
Center–Des Moines and Catholic Health
Initiatives is to nurture the healing ministry Therapeutic Radiology Associates (MTRA). As the busiest During that time, patients and staff often get to know each
of the Church by bringing it new life, radiation therapy department in Iowa, MTRA was pleased other well. Cheryl Dahl, lead radiation therapist, says, “Our
energy and viability in the 21st century. – but not surprised – when it recently surpassed its work allows us to make a very strong connection with
Fidelity to the Gospel urges us to previous record for the number of patients treated in one patients because we see them every day. Our patients
emphasize human dignity and social
month. appreciate the upbeat attitudes of our staff and are
justice as we move toward the creation of
In October, MTRA treated 2,732 patients – or an average comforted by the warmth we provide – from daily hugs to
of 121 patients per day. This is up from the record of 2,049 the angel pin they receive at the end of their treatment.”
patients set in August 2005, but members of the
Reverence department are not dwelling on the record-breaking
Profound spirit of awe and respect for all numbers. Instead, they choose to focus on something
of creation, shaping relationships to self, much more important – their patients.
to one another and to God, and acknowl- MTRA's 51-person staff is comprised of radiation
edging that we hold in trust all that has oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists,
been given to us.
medical dosimetrists, nursing staff, transporters and
clerical staff. Together, they provide compassionate care for
Integrity patients – along with some of the most sophisticated
Moral wholeness, soundness, upright-
treatments available anywhere.
ness, honesty, sincerity, as basis of trust-
MTRA's medical director, Dr. Richard Deming, doesn't
hesitate to credit the MTRA staff for their professionalism
Compassion and attention to detail and quality. “Our staff has a
reputation for providing compassionate, high-quality care
Feeling with others, being one with others Sarah Yentes, RN, oncology nurse, secures an angel pin to patient Tim
in their sorrows and joy, rooted in the to every patient that comes through our doors, and we take Sims' collar as Kari Lemke, radiation therapist, looks on. MTRA gives an
that very seriously. When a referring physician entrusts angel pin to every patient on their final day of treatment. Tim completed
sense of solidarity as members of the his radiation treatments for colorectal cancer on Thursday, Nov. 9.
human community. their patient to us, we see that as a privilege, so we work
Outstanding achievement, merit virtue;
continually surpassing standards to HEALTH WISE TIP:HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT
OF YOUR FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS
he holidays are right around the corner, and every-
MERCY T one is looking for a little extra money. If you have
FSA ELIGIBLE EXPENSES
STRATEGIES invested in one or both of the flexible spending accounts (For a complete list, please visit www.fiservhealthservices.com.)
Health Care Reimbursement Accounts
Look for related articles about Mercy
that Mercy offers as an employee benefit, you'll want to
ensure that you're not overlooking a simple way to • Aspirin
Strategies throughout this newsletter.
increase your cash flow. • Antacid
1 A flexible spending account (FSA) allows you to pay for
eligible out-of-pocket expenses on a pre-tax basis. Mercy • Cold medicine
• Contact lenses
People offers two FSA options – health care and dependent care
• Dentures & adhesives
accounts – that enable employees to make significant
2 contributions each calendar year toward anticipated
medical or dependent care expenses. As a result, you can
• Hearing aids & batteries
• Laser eye surgery
Physician decrease your taxable income – potentially saving your- • Orthodontics
Relationships self hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. • Reading glasses
FSAs, however, operate under a “use it or lose it” policy. • Sinus medication
3 By law, if you do not file reimbursement claims for the
entire amount of your FSA contribution by the end of
• Smoking cessation programs
• Sunscreen with high SPF (i.e., 30 or 45)
Quality each calendar year or its grace period, you forfeit the Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts
4 amount left in the account. But it's not hard to come up
with eligible expenses. Aside from the typical ones, such
• After school care or extended day programs
• Custodial elder cares expenses (see criteria)
as co-pays, prescription drug charges and daycare
Information expenses, there are many others you may not know about
• Nanny or au pair
• Camps (see criteria)
5 (see box at left).
Fiserv, the plan administrator for both FSA options, has This year, health care FSA participants have an
Performance posted complete lists of eligible expenses on their website additional two-and-a-half month grace period to incur
at www.fiservhealthservices.com. To access the site, you eligible expenses (until March 15, 2007). Next year, this
6 will need to register as a “New User” and set up a user-
name and password. You will also be asked to enter
will apply to dependent care accounts, as well.
Growth Mercy's “Group Number” – 76040157. Once you are
logged in, you can also view your account and download
CHILD LIFE SPECIALISTS AND TOY DONATIONS MERCY FAMILY HELPS
FEED THOSE IN NEED
HELP MAKE THE HOLIDAYS BRIGHT
housands of central Iowans will have a
B eing in the hospital over the holidays can be hard for
anyone, but it can be particularly difficult for a sick
each bring a new stuffed animal in lieu of gifts, which she
graciously donated to Mercy's Child Life Services
T happier holiday season this year, thanks
to the kindness and generosity of the Mercy
or injured child whose greatest wish is to go home. No Department. “I wanted to help kids who have to come to Family.
one knows this better than Mercy's team of child life spe- the hospital and might not get to bring their own stuffed In November, Mercy employees participat-
cialists, who are specially trained to help pediatric animals,” said Katie. ed in the Combat Hunger food drive – a
patients and their families understand and manage chal- While Katie's donation is just one of many that the Mission on the Move project that supports
lenging life events and stressful health care experiences. Child Life program receives throughout the year, the the Food Bank of Iowa. More than 100
The seven members of Mercy's Child Life Services department is always in need of more items for pediatric employees volunteered to collect non-perish-
Department – Becky Dodd, Lisa Fox, Raye Pietruszka, patients. Among other things, donations of new stuffed able food items and paper products at Dahl's
Nikki Randall, Rania Robb, Lisa Thacker and Jolene Vos - animals, lip balm, bubbles, push-button sound books, stores throughout the metro, or assisted with
card games, DVDs, individual craft kits, coloring books, picking up donations internally and from
work with children who are seen in Pediatrics and the
area schools and businesses. In addition,
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Medical Imaging, the hand-held electronic games, baby rattles and teething
Mercy employees donated 12,064 pounds of
Children's Emergency Center and the Neonatal Intensive rings are always welcome.
Care Unit. The team not only helps young patients pre- For more information about Mercy's Child Life Services
This year, Combat Hunger raised more
pare for medical tests and procedures, but also provides program or the department's complete holiday wish list,
than 175,000 pounds of food for the Food
children and their families with a variety of developmen- please call x-34524. Bank of Iowa. The event is sponsored by
tal, educational and therapeutic activities. Mercy Medical Center, STAR 102.5, the Des
These services are important around the holidays, Moines Register, Dahl's Foods, Des Moines
when sick children are especially sensitive to the fact that Area Regional Transit (DART) and the Iowa
they have limitations. To provide some relief, Mercy's Motor Truck Association.
child life specialists try to engage their patients in “nor-
mal” activities – like opening presents and playing with
new toys. The department relies heavily upon donations
from friends and employees to meet this need.
“We have a very small budget to work with, but we
want to be sure that the kids who have to spend the holi-
days in the hospital can wake up on Christmas morning
with presents to open,” said Lisa Fox.
Eight-year-old Katie James and Child Life Specialist Raye Pietruszka pose
One little girl – eight-year-old Katie James of Dallas with some of the 25 stuffed animals Katie donated to the Children's The staff of Mercy Campus Medical Clinic decided to
Center – understands how important that can be to a Center at Mercy. Katie asked her friends and family to bring new stuffed have an internal contest to see who could bring in the
animals to her birthday party in lieu of gifts. most items for the Combat Hunger food drive. The office
child. At her last birthday party, she asked her guests to staff was divided into two teams and had one week to
bring as many items as possible. The result: an exam
room full of bags and boxes of non-perishable food items
for those in need.
12:30 - 3:30 p.m. in East Tower Conference Room 7. For
NEWS BRIEFS additional information, please contact Patty Russell at x- MERCY COLLEGE
MERCY LAUNCHES NICHE PROGRAM TO
34529. STUDENTS SUPPORT THE
IMPROVE GERIATRIC CARE HOMELESS
In an effort to better serve Iowa's aging population and MERCY SCHOLARS: CONTACT HR BEFORE
SPRING CLASSES START etween 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, and 7
provide exemplary care to patients 65 and over, Mercy
will implement the Nurses Improving Care for Health In order to remain eligible for the Mercy Scholars B a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, a group of
fourth-semester nursing students from
System Elders (NICHE) program later this month. program during the Spring 2007 semester, current
participants must contact Human Resources and sign Mercy College of Health Sciences joined
NICHE is a national geriatric nursing program that
their agreement prior to the first day of class. For more more than 200 others to sleep outside at
works with health care facilities to stimulate culture
information, please contact Greta Weiss at x-34523. Drake Stadium for Reggie's Sleepout. Megan
change and provide patient-centered care to older adults.
Collins, Sarah Grife, Elizabeth Ludwig and
Hospitals that have implemented NICHE report
HELP KEEP A CHILD WARM THIS WINTER Patti Rotert (also known as the Mercy NS4
enhanced nursing knowledge and skills regarding
Team) braved cold temperatures to partici-
geriatric syndromes; decreased length of stay for elderly You still have time to participate in Shoes That Fit, a
pate in the event to raise money and aware-
patients; reductions in readmission rates; increases in the program that provides shoes and warm clothing to needy
ness for central Iowa's homeless youth.
length of time between re-admissions; and reductions in children in local elementary schools. If you would like to
Sponsored by the Des Moines Area
costs associated with hospital care for the elderly. help, simply pick up a “needs card” from the PR &
Religious Council and Iowa Homeless Youth
In June, nursing staff from 9 South, 7 North, the Flex Marketing office (located on A-Level, across from
Centers, Reggie's Sleepout featured a boxed-
Team and ancillary departments participated in the McDonald's) between now and Dec. 8. Each card
in shelter building contest, live music and
Geriatric Institutional Assessment Profile – a preliminary contains a detailed description of one clothing item
entertainment, a chili supper and a hot
survey that assessed the knowledge and attitudes about needed by a child – including the child's age, gender and
breakfast. Although campers slept a little
geriatric practice at Mercy. The results from that size. Purchase the item and return it with the “needs card”
easier knowing they had warm beds to go
assessment helped Mercy prioritize staff needs related to to a designated collection site on or before Friday, Dec.
home to, they did experience a taste of what
best practices in geriatric care, and those topics will be 15. (The “needs card” must be attached to ensure that the
the homeless have to contend with this time
covered in monthly NICHE educational offerings. To kick clothing item is delivered to the right child.) Monetary
of year. After a week of unseasonably warm
things off, Rita LaReau – a nationally-acclaimed geriatric donations are also welcome, and checks can be made
temperatures that reached into the 70s,
clinical nurse specialist – will give a special presentation payable to Shoes That Fit.
Friday was cold and rainy with overnight
on Thursday, Dec. 14, from 8 - 11 a.m. and again from lows in the 30s.
WOW TIDBITS MERCY STARBUCKS TO OPEN IN FEBRUARY
TREAT YOURSELF TO WELLNESS
With the hectic holiday season
T he wait for a triple grande
sugar-free vanilla latte with
extra foam will soon be over –
the sales of Starbucks coffee and food products will come
back to Mercy through the Auxiliary's annual grant
process,” said Lynn Hall, Auxiliary programs manager.
approaching, there's no better time to slow
Starbucks® is scheduled to open for “With these additional funds, the Auxiliary will be better
down and give yourself the gift of wellness.
business at Mercy in February. The positioned to fund more of the requests it receives each
Mercy's WOW 4U program is free to all
coffee shop will be located on the year than it can with just the gift shop and salon opera-
employees, and you can join at any time. To
first floor of the East Tower, across tions alone.”
request registration materials, simply call
from the Surgery Waiting Area, and Peter Makowski, Mercy's COO, is also excited about the
the WOW 4U hotline at x-38800 or e-mail
will be the first Starbucks in the state of Iowa to offer a new partnership. “Bringing a Starbucks to Mercy's Main
email@example.com. Additional full lunch menu – including sandwiches and salads. Campus is a win-win situation,” he said. “It will not only
program information is also posted on The franchise will be operated by the Mercy Auxiliary of make it more convenient for employees and visitors to
MercyNet under “Communities.” Central Iowa, a partner of Mercy Foundation and histor- get their favorite cup of coffee, but it will also generate
ically the largest single donor to Mercy and its affiliates. additional revenue to help Mercy fund worthy projects
WOW 4U ADVISORS AVAILABLE In its 58-year history, the Auxiliary has donated more and purchase necessary equipment.”
If the holidays are wearing you down or than $6.8 million through its annual grant process to The Auxiliary has already hired two of the 10 employ-
stressing you out, WOW 4U program Mercy programs and services – contributions made pos- ees who will eventually staff the coffee shop, and
advisors are available to help. Just sible in part by the success of Mercy's seven gift shops construction to renovate the space to Starbucks specifi-
call x-38800 or e-mail wow4u@mercy and four salons. In June 2006, the Auxiliary awarded cations will begin soon. Initial hours for Mercy Starbucks
desmoines.org. more than $572,000 to a variety of Mercy projects. will be weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and
“Like the gift shops and salons, all net proceeds from Saturdays from 7 to 11 a.m.
LUNCH AND LEARN SERIES
Peggy Palmer-Johnson will facilitate the OUR SYMPATHY CONGRATULATIONS TO…
next Lunch and Learn – “How to Eat Your
Lauri Allen, Mercy Mayo Residency Program, on the Shannon Green, Mercy West Ambulatory Surgery, and
Way Through the Holidays…or Not!” – on death of her father. Erin, on the birth of their son, Easton Michael. Easton
Thursday, Dec. 14, at noon in the Cardiac was born on Nov. 17 and is the first child for the Greens.
and Pulmonary classroom on Level 2 of the Renee Bernhardt, Admitting, on the death of her uncle.
Mercy Plaza. Additional details will be Amanda Koerselman, Capitol Bariatrics Program, and
Kasandra Bougher, Admitting, on the death of her Scott, on the birth of their son, Jacob Scott. Jacob was
born on Nov. 21 and has one sibling – Lucas, 1.
HEALTHY HABITS PROGRAM CONTINUES Cheryl Bowman, Day Care Center, on the death of her
husband. Monica LaRoque, House of Mercy, and David, on the
The “12 Healthy Habits for the Holiday birth of their son, Jacob Mallory. Jacob was born on
Season” is well underway. This six-week Cherie Cole, Information Systems, on the death of her Nov. 15 and has two siblings – Alyssa, 6, and Daleah, 2.
program is designed to help employees father.
reduce stress during the holidays by Laura Nydam, House of Mercy, and Rodell, on the birth
Kevin Cole, Parking, on the death of his father-in-law. of their daughter, Zoey Jae. Zoey was born on Nov. 14
encouraging them to participate in and
and is the first child for the Nydams.
record healthy activities. Completed Robert Cook, Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, on the
packets need to be returned no later than death of his mother. Bridget Sickles, MRI, and Josh, on the birth of their
Dec. 31. For additional information, please son, Grant Thomas. Grant was born on Nov. 9 and has
call x-38800. Geri Gomez, Iowa Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, on one sibling – Mason, 1.
the death of her father.
WINNER ANNOUNCED Robert Lewis, Radiology, on the death of his mother.
The winner of $5 in WOW Bucks this week
Doris Shellabarger, Wound Care Services, on the death
is Charrisse Bird in Information of her mother-in-law.
Technology. Charrisse, please call x-38800 to
claim your prize. Jacki Storm, Laboratory, on the death of her sister.
Erin Vostad, Mercy Plastic Surgery, on the death of her
VOL 06 ISSUE 24 | DECEMBER 1, 2006 Nonprofit Org.
The Mercy Bulletin is published bi-weekly for U.S. Postage
employees and friends of Mercy Medical Center, PAID
Des Moines, IA
1111 6th Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50314-2611.
Permit N0. 4111
Erin Kennedy Kurth .................................. Editor
Megan Jorgensen ..............................Contributor
Gregg Lagan ......................................Contributor
Sarah Todd ........................................Contributor
Traci McBee ......................................Contributor
Laura Vanden Bosch ..............................Director
If you are interested in submitting an article, letter to
the editor or Reflections of Excellence note, please send
it to Erin Kennedy Kurth, Public Relations and
Marketing Department, or call 247-3050.