MercyOne CEO Bob Ritz talks about health care and hospital name change

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Mercy Health Network recently announced a name change, from MHN to MercyOne. To the average person, the rebranding may have meant nothing more than a new name and logo. MercyOne President and CEO Bob Ritz says the change is more about service.  KCAU 9 News sat down with Ritz Tuesday and asked about that and other health-related issues impacting Siouxland.

“It lets you know that if there are questions or services that are needed beyond your local ministery, that we have access to people in other parts of the state. Being able to do that all across Iowa is a strong sense of confidence to all our colleagues,” said Ritz.

Ritz career in helath care dates back to the 1980’s. He tells us change is constant in the industry and that the future of health care revolves around providing the best clinical services.  “If you look at the number of patients in the hospital today versus 20 years ago the percentage of patients getting treatment in a hospital has clearly shifted to outpatient services.  Hospitals are left to take care of the sickest and with the most clinically intense needs.  We have to make sure we’re very good at that,” said Ritz.

Nursing continues to be one of the most in demand professions. Ritz says finding ways to increase the number of care providers is also important.  There are a lot of interesting things being done like shortening the training programs from 4 years to 3 or 2 years from 3 years.  Making sure the clinical experience happens at an earlier time in their education, says Ritz.

About 2 years ago, Iowa joined a growing number of states ending state-managed Medicaid, instead turning it over to private companies.  Hospitals said the change would cost them millions, patients complained they were not able to get the same coverage under the new system.
The title wave of protest has ended but Ritz tells us more improvements are needed and Governor Reynolds knows that.  “My impression is that the governor is very focused on making sure that she and her team understand what policy change is need so the program can continue to be viable and provide services, improve access to service to those who qualify and are eligible. My quick answer is yes she is very interested in constantly making changes to make it better,” added Ritz.

MercyOne has 18 medical centers and hospitals, as well as more than 420 clinics across Iowa and Nebraska.

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