Mercy Donates AEDs to Area Schools, Churches, Non-Profit Organizations

The MedQuarter | December 2nd, 2019

CEDAR RAPIDS (Dec. 2, 2019) – Mercy Medical Center is donating Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to 10 area schools, churches and community organizations in the coming days, bringing the number of AEDs the hospital has donated to 73 since the program began in 2014.

AEDs are portable devices that check heart rhythm and treat Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).  When needed, an AED can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. The AEDs will be placed in readily accessible locations at each site to be used in case of an emergency.

The AED donation program at Mercy is designed to equip local non-profits demonstrating financial need with the life-saving devices.  The non-profits must also exhibit a need for AED coverage for their facility and participate in an application process.

Presentation of the AEDs will take place at the following times and locations in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities:

Tuesday, Dec. 3: 

  1. 8:30 a.m. – La Salle Center, 3700 1st Ave. NW, Cedar Rapids
  2. 10 a.m. – St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 4700 Johnson Ave., NW, Cedar Rapids
  3. 11:40 a.m. – Hawkeye Area Council, 4521 Boy Scout Rd., Central City
  4. 1:30 p.m. – St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 120 5th St. NW, Cedar Rapids
  5. 2:30 p.m. – His Hands Free Clinic, 400 12th St. SE, Cedar Rapids
  6. 3:30 p.m. – United Parish Church, 208 3rd St. N., Coggon

Friday, Dec. 6: 

  1. 3:30 p.m. – St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1420 Walker St., Ely

Monday, Dec. 9:

  1. 1 p.m. – Alburnett High School, 131 Roosevelt St., Alburnett

Tuesday, Dec. 10:

  1. 9 a.m. – St. Isidore Church, 603 6th Ave., S., Springville
  2. 10:15 a.m. – Isaac Newton Christian Academy, 1635 Linmar Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids

Mercy is partnering with ThinkSafe, based in Cedar Rapids, to make the AEDs available for donation.

According to the American Heart Association, SCA is a major cause of death in the United States, contributing to more than 300,000 deaths annually and accounting for about 50 percent of all cardiovascular deaths.  A key to fighting SCA is defibrillation (use of an AED) within a very short period of time from the onset of SCA.

Two Corridor Hospitals Named Among Best for Cardio Treatment

The MedQuarter | November 27th, 2019

Mercy Iowa City and UnityPoint – St. Luke’s Hospital of Cedar Rapids have both received the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain – MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award for 2019.

They were among only five hospitals in Iowa and 225 hospitals nationwide to receive the honor, which recognizes hospitals participating in the Chest Pain – MI Registry that have demonstrated sustained, top-level performance in quality of care and adherence to guideline recommendations.

“Mercy Iowa City is recognized statewide and nationally for its quality in treating cardiovascular conditions, and to achieve Platinum level for nine consecutive years for treating heart attack is exceptional,” said Sean Williams, Mercy’s president and CEO, in a release. “This is because of a culture committed to the best for our patients.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 700,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year, when a blood clot in a coronary artery partially or completely blocks blood flow to the heart muscle. Treatment guidelines include administering aspirin upon arrival and discharge, timely restoration of blood flow to the blocked artery, smoking cessation counseling, cardiac rehabilitation and more.

The Chest Pain-MI Registry empowers health care provider teams to consistently treat heart attack patients according to the most current, science-based guidelines and establishes a national standard for understanding and improving the quality, safety and outcomes of care provided for patients with coronary artery disease, specifically high-risk heart attack patients.

Article originally appeared in the Corridor Business Journal.

Health Technology Fabrication Lab Generate @ UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids Opens to encourage innovation at hospital bedside & clinics

The MedQuarter | November 15th, 2019

Cedar Rapids, Iowa— UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids is opening generate @ St. Luke’s to provide hospital and clinic employees and patients access to world class tools to create and fabricate the future of healthcare devices.

UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids partnered with Boston-based MakerHealth for the construction and ideation of an open-access medical technology and learning lab. MakerHealth, a spinoff of MIT’s Little Devices Lab in Massachusetts, is a pioneer in hospital makerspaces, and its principals have over a decade of experience bringing the tools of innovation to the point of care so that clinicians and patients can create healthcare devices. This is the first hands-on fabrication lab of its kind in the Midwest and the third of its kind in the U.S.

Create what you can hold in your hand

generate @ UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids will encourage and enable innovation at the bedside or in the clinic. It will be a designated space in the hospital where UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids hospital and clinic nurses, physicians, team members, patients and community partners can transform their ideas for improving patient care into tangible prototypes to be tested and reviewed for implementation.

UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids has worked with MakerHealth and the MakerNurse community for nearly two years through a Makerspace in the Cloud license, hosting seven pop-up lab events in the hospital and community that have resulted in 57 projects made by clinicians, with 11 of those already in use at St. Luke’s and its clinics. These projects include a sensor system, designed and made by St. Luke’s Would Clinic Nurse Christina Ross, which was connected to a wound vac device to alert nurses via text message when the system pressure is low. Another innovation created at St. Luke’s was a 3D printed case for medication vials to prevent needle sticks in the operating room made by St. Luke’s nurse Krystle Bragg, and a silicone frame for a Virtual Reality mask created by an interdisciplinary team including Dr. Benjamin Tallman, nurse April Golwitzer both from UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids and students Allie Rausch, Paige Nelson, Wenxia Sweeney, Hayley Walton from Coe College in Cedar Rapids. By launching generate, the UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids community will be able to accelerate these projects and expand the culture of innovation across the health system and community.

“I learned about the MakerNurse community about 18 months ago when I was working on my doctoral project,” shares Rose Hedges, St. Luke’s Nursing Research and local MakerNurse Champion. “The program taps into the ingenuity of nurses. For decades nurses have used everyday materials to improve upon and create new tools and devices, which allow us to provide better care for patients. It’s an international program that supports this work.”

UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids region-wide access to multidisciplinary tools driven by MakerHealth Operating System

generate @ St. Luke’s will have several rooms within the space for collaborative meetings, a workshop area, digital fabrication equipment such as 3D printers and a laser cutter, and medical grade fabrication materials for designing and prototyping. UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids employees will have access to technology training resources on topics such as 3D printing patient data, creating connected IoT (Internet of Things) health devices, and fabrication of simulation models and smart systems. The facility is powered by a MakerHealth Operating System, which includes onsite technical instruction support (a biomechanical engineer) and on-demand project creation software tools to teach clinicians technical skills needed to build their ideas.

“The best ideas come from the bedside or in the clinics,” said Anna Young MakerHealth co-founder. “Several years ago, we flipped the model of healthcare technology creation by creating smart tools that enable clinicians and hospital staff bring their ideas to life and remain pioneers of their own innovations. UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids has a vibrant community of doers and makers inspired by their care for their patients. We’re thrilled to be pushing the edge of clinical design with them.”

In addition to generate @ St. Luke’s Hospital, there will be two St. Luke’s MakerHealth satellite labs with medical fabrication resources at Witwer Children’s Therapy locations in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha. They join a growing network of MakerHealth hospitals including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, Massachusetts, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX and Hospital Negrin in Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Spain.

The generate lab and MakerNurse programming at UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids are possible thanks to philanthropy. St. Luke’s Foundation received a $500,000 gift from the estate of Viola Reth, a former St. Luke’s nurse and teacher who passed away in 2017 at the age of 92.

Reth’s gift will support the generate lab renovation, installation and full-time operation of the makerspace. “Viola Reth enjoyed helping others,” said Mary Klinger, St. Luke’s Foundation president. “We know this through the professions she chose and through conversations with her sister, Irene Curtis. We felt the MakerHealth | MakerNurse project was a just the right blend of education and nursing, both of which were important to Viola. We believe this innovative project is a perfect way to honor Viola and her legacy. Her generous gift makes this innovative project possible.”

“UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids is a national leader in delivering healthcare,” said Carmen Kleinsmith, St. Luke’s senior vice president & chief nurse executive. “Opening generate @ St. Luke’s is another way our regional system looks to develop and support a culture of technology and innovation allowing us to help build a model for the future of healthcare.”

MedQuarter Child Care Feasibility Study Completes Second of Three Phases

The MedQuarter | November 12th, 2019

Children playingLinn County has lost 41% of its child care businesses over the past five years. Lack of affordable, quality child care has many negative impacts on people and communities. Like employers across the region, employers in the MedQuarter Regional Medical District recognize the impact that lack of access to quality and affordable child care can have on employee recruitment and retention.

The MedQuarter recently contracted with Mills Consulting Group of Framingham, MA to perform a feasibility study to research the viability of building a child care center in the District. There are three major components to the study:

1) Child care needs assessment survey
2) On-site focus group meetings
and stakeholder interviews
3) Final report

A child care needs assessment survey was sent to all MedQuarter businesses and 12 business in Downtown Cedar Rapids in September. The assessment survey gathered information about parents’ current and future child care arrangements and needs. Insights were gathered on the demographic and socio-economic composition of the market area, market demand for child care by age and socio-economic status, access to child care, current child care arrangements and costs and child care needs such as scheduling, back-up care, sick child care and the effects of child care issues on work. A total of 849 people participated in the survey, of which 729 have or are planning to have children age 10 or younger in the next three years. A total of 849 people participated in the survey, of which 729 have or are planning to have children age 10 or younger in the next three years.

Mills Consulting Group conducted on-site focus group meetings and stakeholder interviews in October. Interviews with 33 employees and nine employer representatives gathered greater detail on the current landscape of child care in the area, and provided a first-hand look at key issues that parents are dealing with in balancing their work and family issues. While here, Mills Consulting Group also met with representatives from Linn County Community Services – Early Childhood Iowa to discuss child care issues on a county and statewide basis and with a developer who specializes in child care facilities to discuss local codes, requirements and costs for daycare facilities.

The final report will be presented in December. The report will include a summary of data collected as well as key findings from the data, information on competition and pricing of child care in the local area, information on child care assistance currently available to families, management model options for child care centers and approximate capital costs for a child care center in the MedQuarter District.

After the final report is received, the Medical Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District Commission will begin the work of determining whether the issues uncovered in the process can be addressed by creating a child care center that provides the services needed.

Mercy Cedar Rapids Releases 2019 Annual Report

The MedQuarter | November 7th, 2019

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (Nov. 7, 2019) – Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids has released its 2019 annual report, demonstrating its commitment to homegrown healthcare, care for our community provided by our community.

Mercy has been rooted in eastern Iowa for nearly 120 years. Growing with community needs, today Mercy is one of few remaining independent healthcare systems. This means decisions about how to best serve our neighbors are made locally, for eastern Iowans by eastern Iowans.

Once again, Mercy has been recognized with many quality awards and other achievements that demonstrate a strong strategic plan, the commitment of compassionate providers, and the delivery of new technology and exemplary healthcare.

Several of Mercy’s notable accomplishments from the past year include:

  • Mercy Neurosurgery Clinic opened, providing back/spine and brain surgery to patients.
  • The Birthplace renovated 100% of its rooms with advanced Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit technology, keeping families together even when a higher level of care is needed.
  • Mercy’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit underwent a $7 million renovation, adding to its already outstanding care.
  • The Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery team celebrated one year of providing exemplary open heart surgery to patients.
  • The Bariatric Surgery team completed its 100th procedure.
  • Mercy was the first hospital to create an anti-human trafficking staff position, assisting 58 survivors, and training 89 school nurses in Cedar Rapids and 2,000 medical personnel in Iowa.
  • Mercy Gastrointestinal Clinic opened in a new space in the 8th & 8th Medical Park building.
  • The hospital achieved reaccreditation by the Joint Commission – a symbol of excellence.
  • The Family Caregivers Center of Mercy received the American Hospital Association’s Hospital Award for Volunteer Excellence in community service.
  • The hospital was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals for the 7th consecutive year.

Visit to read the full community report of fiscal year achievements.

Keeping It in the Family in the MedQ

The MedQuarter | November 4th, 2019

Lisa YoungLisa Young, an operating room supervisor, didn’t decide she wanted to be a nurse until after high school.

Her mom, Jean Hachey, an anesthesia nurse for the OR team at St. Luke’s Hospital, encouraged Lisa to pursue a career in the medical field.

Her mother, a nurse for 35 years, has been a positive influence on Lisa’s career, she said.

Jean always said the MedQuarter Regional Medical District was a comfortable place to work in, where the staff were treated well and supportive of one another. Remembering Jean’s many stories, Lisa’s decision to work in the MedQ too was an easy one.

Lisa started at St. Luke’s in 2004 as a patient care tech in the post-anesthesia care unit. She went on to become a certified surgical technologist, knowing she would return to school to become a registered nurse.

She attended nursing school at Kirkwood Community College and then the RN-to-BSN program at Mount Mercy University. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in May 2018.

A Mother-Daughter Duo

Lisa and Jean now work in the same department and are often seen as a duo. Lisa enjoys working with her mother, she said, adding that Jean is a great role model. When Lisa has questions, Jean knows the answers.

“I still call her ‘Mom,’ which she tries to correct me sometimes and lets people know we are co-workers. She keeps me in check when I need it,” Lisa said. “She is a great resource in the department because she has had over 35 years of experience as a nurse.”

A Family-Like Atmosphere

Lisa is proud to provide world-class care right here in the MedQuarter.

“The patient care is organized, and there are many options available. I really believe the care we provide is the best around. The two hospitals share resources, knowledge and technology, which is nice to have that opportunity,” Lisa said. “If one of us doesn’t know the answers, we can reach out to the other facility to get advice.”

As Lisa celebrates her 15th work anniversary in the MedQ, she appreciates not only her workplace but the culture, amenities and other aspects of the entire district — like the coffee shops, cafes, book fairs and gym.

“The MedQ has a very friendly and positive atmosphere,” Lisa said.

Mercy Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator Identified for Federal Advisory Council

The MedQuarter | November 1st, 2019

Teresa Davidson Photo
Teresa Davidson

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (October 31, 2019) – President Trump announced his intention this week to appoint Mercy’s anti-human trafficking coordinator, Teresa Davidson, to a national council against human trafficking.

Once her appointment is signed, Davidson will be one of nine people that are part of the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking.  As a part of the council, Davidson will serve a two-year term, acting in a consultant role to make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies.

“I’m honored to be among those selected for this committee,” said Davidson.  “Putting an end to human trafficking has been my life’s work and passion for the past six years.  Through my experiences, I feel I’ve gained valuable insight into the causes and devastating effects that trafficking can have on the lives of so many.  To be part of solving this problem on a national level is both humbling and exciting.”

Davidson was named Mercy’s anti-trafficking coordinator in May 2018, serving in the first hospital-based position of its kind in Iowa and one of just a handful in the country. She is responsible for leading the hospital’s efforts to strengthen the comprehensive response to victims of human trafficking.

In addition to her role at Mercy, Davidson is the co-founder and president of an eastern Iowa anti-human trafficking organization called Chains Interrupted.

Mercy Named Among Nation’s Most Wired Hospitals Once Again

The MedQuarter | October 10th, 2019

Mercy Named Among Nation’s Most Wired Hospitals Once Again

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (October 10, 2019) – Mercy Medical Center has again been named one of healthcare’s Most Wired hospitals, according to the results of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Most Wired® Survey.

Mercy achieved a level nine award – the highest among Iowa hospitals and the only ambulatory system in Iowa also recognized at level nine. Each survey participant receives a certification level between one and 10, which represents their respective achievements.  Mercy is one of only 45 organizations nationally to achieve a level nine status for the hospital.

The Most Wired hospital designation acknowledges Mercy’s commitment to use technology to make it easier for patients and providers to interact, thus improving communication, safety and patient-provider relationships.  As examples: telehealth is filling gaps in care; predictive analytics are being used to identify potential healthcare needs; and internet-enabled open patient access to electronic health record information is educating patients and allowing online collaboration with their care teams.

CHIME’s Most Wired program is designed to elevate the health and care of communities around the world by encouraging the optimal use of information technology.  The survey results are intended to improve patient safety and outcomes by driving change in the healthcare IT industry.

Mercy will be recognized for its achievement in the November issue of Most Wired, a Modern Healthcare Special Edition publication.



The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 2,900 members in 56 countries and over 150 healthcare IT business partners and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit


About Mercy

Mercy Cedar Rapids is a Catholic healthcare system serving patients and families in eastern Iowa.  In addition to Mercy Medical Center (its fully accredited, 424-licensed-bed hospital in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa), the system has an established network of specialty clinics, including MercyCare primary and urgent care clinics located throughout Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities. IBM Watson Healthhas named Mercy Medical Center among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals based on clinical, operational and patient satisfaction data.  Founded in 1900 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy remains dedicated to its mission of caring for the sick and enhancing the health of the communities it serves.  For more information, log on to, or follow Mercy on Facebook at; on Twitter at; on Instagram at; or on YouTube at

Especially for You Race Celebrates 29 Years with Nearly 14,500 Participants

The MedQuarter | October 7th, 2019

Especially for You Race Celebrates 29 Years with Nearly 14,500 Participants

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (Oct. 6, 2019) – Nearly 14,500 people registered for the 29th annual Especially for You® Race Against Breast Cancer, which took place today at Mercy Medical Center.

Proceeds from race registrations benefit the Especially for You fund. This year more than $429,000 in registrations was raised for the fund, which provides financial assistance for breast and gynecological cancer screenings and services for area individuals in need.  Since its inception, the Especially for You fund has helped more than 10,000 individuals with 21,000 services right here in Linn County.

General Mills and Mercy Medical Center are co-founders of the race, which includes a 5K run, 5K walk and a one-mile family fun walk. The course route finishes in the NewBo district where participants enjoyed music, free kids’ activities, team photo opportunities, mascots, massages, a health fair and a pancake breakfast.

The Especially for You Race has experienced tremendous growth since the first race in 1991, when 1,078 people participated. The race and Especially for You fund are dedicated to the memory of Sandy Knight, a Whittier resident and General Mills employee who died of breast cancer at a young age in July 1991. It was her wish to establish a race to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and education.

2019 Race Details

Total registrants: 14,473 (in 2018 there were 15,200)

Money raised for Especially for You:   More than $429,000 in race registrations

Total number of registered teams: 457

Top Business Teams with Most Members:

  1. Mercy Medical Center – 1,227
  2. Fairfax State Savings Bank – 644
  3. OBGYN Associates – 202

Top Family Teams with Most Members:

  1. Team Deb: Live Life Until the End – 209
  2. Michelle’s Motivators – 108
  3. Pamela Jo – 92

Fun Facts 

  • Race participants represented 454 cities, 30 states, and were from as far away as Great Britain.
  • The oldest registrant was 100 years old.
  • Total number of cancer survivors registered for the race – 710
  • This year’s t-shirt color was burgundy.  The color is changed every year.

Mercy & Alliant Energy Light the Night Pink to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness

The MedQuarter | October 2nd, 2019

CEDAR RAPIDS (Sept. 25, 2019) – Mercy Medical Center and Alliant Energy are joining forces to light the night pink on Thursday, October 3.  The Power of Pink event will mark the arrival of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — October — with a lighting ceremony, fireworks, live music, and giveaways to promote awareness and early detection.


The Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, Mercy’s main hospital entrances and other designated areas on the Mercy campus will be illuminated in pink and remain lit throughout the month of October.  Alliant Energy will use LED technology to light its downtown Cedar Rapids building pink for the month of October.

The Power of Pink event takes place outside Mercy’s Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, 701 10th Street SE.  Beginning at 6 p.m., Alliant Energy is giving away energy-saving pink LED light bulbs while supplies last. Those who receive the light bulbs are encouraged to put them in their porch lights for the month of October as a reminder to individuals in their neighborhood to get screened for breast cancer.


Guests will also enjoy light refreshments, face painting and a selfie station. Live music by Alisabeth Von Presley will begin at 6 p.m.


A brief program at 7:30 p.m. will be followed by the illumination of the cancer center and hospital, with fireworks capping off the evening’s events.


The public is encouraged to attend — and wear pink. A $2 donation will be made to the Especially for You® (EFY) Fund for each person in attendance. The fund provides breast care services — such as mammograms, biopsies and ultrasounds, as well as gynecological cancer care services — for individuals in our community who can’t otherwise afford them.


EFY merchandise will be available for purchase and individuals who have registered for the EFY Race can pick up race packets from 6 to 7 p.m.


Event Details

What:   Power of Pink lighting event and fireworks

When:   Thursday, Oct. 3

Giveaways, refreshments and activities begin at 6 p.m.

Live music by Alisabeth Von Presley begins at 6 p.m.

A brief program at 7:30 p.m. precedes the lighting and fireworks.

Where:   Mercy Medical Center’s Hall-Perrine Cancer Center

701 10th St. SE, Cedar Rapids

Why:      To observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month & promote early detection

Who:      The public is invited to attend this free event.