Best Hospital: Mercy Medical Center


With the successful introduction of its Family Caregiver Center, an open heart surgical program and the Hiawatha Medical Park in recent years, Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids continues to grow and evolve to serve the community.

“We’re really pleased we received this recognition this year,” said CEO Tim Charles. “We are constantly pushing ourselves, testing ourselves, to make sure we’re making the kind of difference that’s needed in the community.”

Not long after the hospital’s founding by the Sisters of Mercy in 1901, they told their archbishop in a letter that “We will never be content until we are deemed a peer of the best.” Today, Mercy can point not only to its third Best Of appearance, but to a Top 100 Hospitals in the Nation recognition from HealthGrades and the highest star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Transparency is part of the hospital’s philosophy. It releases an annual quality report, which tracks its community impact, patient satisfaction and rigorous quality metrics. A metric Mr. Charles likes to tout is “door-to-balloon time” – a measure of the time it takes from a patient arriving after a heart attack to receive angioplasty to open a heart blockage. The national benchmark is 90 minutes, but Mercy Medical Center has lowered its average to 40 minutes, and is working to lower it still further.

“We recognized that not only do our internal processes have to be superb, but we need effective partnerships with the ambulance services so that the protocols can be put in place in the field and extended all the way through the hospital,” Mr. Charles said. “This has been extended to other areas such as stroke treatment, where time has a direct correlation to brain functionality.”

– Dave DeWitte

1st Runner Up: UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s

2nd Runner Up: University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics