Saint Mary’s is now among the 43 hospitals affiliated with Catholic Healthcare West (CHW). CHW is one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation. Saint Mary’s, founded in 1908 in Reno, is an integrated healthcare system with more than 10 facilities. CHW, founded in 1986, is a system of 41 medical centers and hospitals in California, Arizona and Nevada. The affiliation will grant Saint Mary’s financial capital to help develop the hospital’s buildings and service lines.
The affiliation will provide substantial benefits to Saint Mary’s and Northern Nevada. “This alliance will enhance our ability to grow and accelerate the completion of much-needed improvements to our facilities, most notably our Emergency Department (ED) expansion, which is expected to get underway early this year,” said Larry O’Brien, president of Saint Mary’s. “Our experience with CHW as a strategic planning partner and group purchasing participant over two years has laid an excellent foundation for joining the CHW organization.”
Many hospitals within the state of Nevada have been experiencing serious overcrowding issues in their emergency departments. Currently, Saint Mary’s ED is approximately 12,000 square feet. The first planned expansion calls for doubling the ED to more than 24,000 square feet, which will improve patient capacity, shorten the wait and provide community access to treatment technologies not previously available. The expansion will cost approximately $14 million and will ease emergency room congestion. As more and more patients lack health insurance, EDs have evolved into clinics that treat mild injuries and illness, as well as serious emergencies and trauma. On an annual basis, Saint Mary’s existing ED is designed to accommodate 35,000 visits, but currently averages 50,000 visits.
The affiliation between Saint Mary’s and CHW also opens the door to further staff recruitment and retention possibilities, especially among registered nurses. Since the affiliation announcement was first made in October 2006, Saint Mary’s has hired an additional 31 nurses, helping to ensure a strong supply of well-trained caregivers and reducing the need to utilize expensive registry, or traveler nurses.
Although Saint Mary’s has grown into a nationally recognized, multi-facility healthcare network, the organization continues to remain true to its original mission established a century ago by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael: to provide medical and spiritual care to those most in need within the community. This ongoing commitment to community outreach and principled core values closely aligned Saint Mary’s corporate philosophy with that of CHW, and was instrumental to their affiliation.
As the only faith-based organization in Northern Nevada, Saint Mary’s is uniquely positioned to serve the community in many ways. Its mobile outreach programs deliver medical and dental care to at-risk populations within the community – particularly children and seniors. These programs implement a wide rage of services and care, including preventive, restorative, referral, educational, social service and even law enforcement. Saint Mary’s also offers a number of additional services and programs throughout the region, including free clinics, health and wellness programs, youth outreach, spiritual care services and Project New Hope, which provides no-cost surgeries to disadvantaged children.
CHW offers programs to uninsured patients in need of healthcare through government grants. The healthcare system also partners with community organizations to help educate and improve the quality of life for area residents in need.
“This is the beginning of a meaningful collaboration between our organizations,” said Lloyd H. Dean, president/CEO of CHW. “The combined strength of our organizations will help improve access to care, establish new centers of excellence, and increase the recruitment and retention potential for physicians, nurses and other caregivers.”