Mercy Health’s Fairfield Hospital grows with community

Mercy Hospital-Fairfield Hospital CEO Tom Urban stands in the lobby of the hospital after a ceremony commemorating 40 years of operation Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Fairfield. The hospital opened on Sept. 13, 1978. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Mercy Hospital-Fairfield Hospital CEO Tom Urban stands in the lobby of the hospital after a ceremony commemorating 40 years of operation Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Fairfield. The hospital opened on Sept. 13, 1978. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The hospital opened Sept. 13, 1978, in an area ripe for development.

Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital is celebrating four decades in the city, and its leaders say that longevity shows how it has grown with the community.

Because the facility considers itself a community hospital, it’s Mercy Health’s responsibility to understand the health care needs of those it serves and to bring programs and services to the community to meet those needs, according to Thomas Urban, the hospital’s CEO and the market president for Mercy Health’s North Market.

“It’s sounds very simple and it kind of is because of you listen to the community … and you have an understanding of what’s going on around you, then you can understand what the health care needs of that community are,” said Urban, who started at the hospital 25 years ago.

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He offers three examples of services introduced by Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital that have allowed Butler County residents to stay put instead of driving dozens of miles or more outside the area: introducing maternity services in 1996, cardiovascular services like open heart surgery in 2001 and an Acute Patient Rehabilitation Unit in 2012.

“Those are the types of things we’ve offered not because we read it in a book but it’s really what the community needed as the community around us grew,” Urban said.

The hospital’s opening accompanied rapid population growth in Fairfield, a city that grew 109.7 percent in a decade, going from 14,680 in 1970 to 30,777 in 1980, according to U.S. Census data. That growth representing nearly half of Butler County’s population growth during the 1970s.

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Mercy Health- Fairfield Hospital has had “a tremendous positive impact of Fairfield and the surrounding area,” according to Kert Radel, president and CEO of Fairfield Chamber of Commerce.

“They are always on the cutting edge in the latest in medical technology that results in greater service to their patients,” Radel said. “Mercy Health- Fairfield Hospital has been a great business partner in the community of supporting key events and projects that have helped to bring growth and development to the City of Fairfield and the region.”

Mayor Steve Miller agreed.

“As an integral part of Fairfield’s community for these past 40 years, Mercy Health has provided care for thousands of Fairfield’s residents as well as residents of Butler County and surrounding areas,” Miller said. “We are glad for this expert medical care so close to home, and look forward to the next 40 and beyond.”

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With the city at 42,566 by the latest estimate in 2017, growth and development at the hospital is set to continue, Urban said.

The quantity of services have been accompanied by a high-level of quality, something Urban said is apparent by the slew of accreditation and awards the hospital has achieved and retained over the years via independent, third-party organizations looking over the hospital’s proverbial shoulders in “a detailed and thorough” manner.

Meeting or exceeding standards of care is promoted by the hospital because “it gives comfort to the community,” Urban said.

The announcement of re-achieving one of those standards — Magnet designation via the American Nurses Credentialing Center — is expected later this month. Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital in 2014 was the first Mercy Health hospital in the region to receive the certification, which recognizes nursing excellence, Urban said. So far, only 400 out of more than 5,500 hospitals nationwide have earned that status, he said.

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But the hospital also has continued to blend the designations, certifications and statuses that affirm clinical quality with the service quality of the patient experience, Urban said.

It sounds kind of corny but I believe it,” he said. “It’s kind of what what the Sisters (of Mercy) wanted us to do. They were very much into the mind-body-spirit and caring for people in a way beyond their physical need was. They embodied that and I think that’s some of the carryover that we benefit from at Fairfield.”

The hospital opened Sept. 13, 1978 in an area ripe for development.

“(Interstate) 275 wasn’t yet complete,” Urban said. “It was Esther Benzing’s house, which is across the street. This (the hospital property) was … an apple orchard when the Benzings were farming it. I think they’d be proud.”

The same goes for the Sister of Mercy, he said.

“We’ve kept their spirit alive, meaning the health care needs of the community, and doing so in a caring, kind, compassionate way that honors the whole person,” Urban said.

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The hospital’s footprint has grown significantly over the past 40 years, as well. In the early part of the last decade, following the closing of Mercy Hamilton in 2001, Mercy Health “heavily invested” in Fairfield, doubling its size to approximately 500,000 square feet and growing it beyond its original “satellite hospital” designation. he said.

Continued growth will be achieved by continuous investing in both the campus and the market, he said, noting as an example Mercy Health reacquiring this summer the 2-story Mercy Medical Arts Building.

“We’re going to renovate, refurbish, refresh, remodel,” he said. “It’s an asset on the campus.”

Mercy Health also plans to strengthen its women’s health services at its Fairfield Healthplex, Urban said.

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