Construction of Mercy Medical Center’s new Jewel and Jim Plumb Heart Center in Cedar Rapids is proceeding on schedule, and hospital officials continue to plan for the facility opening by early June 2023. “We’re really pleased with how the progress is coming along,” said Timothy Quinn, executive vice president and chief of clinical operations at […]
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Construction of Mercy Medical Center’s new Jewel and Jim Plumb Heart Center in Cedar Rapids is proceeding on schedule, and hospital officials continue to plan for the facility opening by early June 2023.
“We’re really pleased with how the progress is coming along,” said Timothy Quinn, executive vice president and chief of clinical operations at Mercy Medical Center, in a recent interview. “They’re on track for the completion date, and we’re roughly within 1% of our (construction) budget, which we put together almost a year and a half ago. In today’s environment, where you keep hearing about massive escalations in budgets, we’re pleased that the team has been able to get to where we need to be.”
Construction of the 72,000-square-foot Plumb Heart Center was launched with a groundbreaking ceremony in September 2021 at the corner of Ninth Street and Eighth Avenue SE, just across the street from Mercy’s Lundy Pavilion.
The project has long been under consideration, spurred by dramatic growth in Mercy’s cardiology unit, and the amount of space available for cardiology services at the main hospital has become increasingly insufficient to meet the higher demand for cardiac services, Dr. Quinn said.
“We wanted to evolve to the next level of service, to a new model, having all the providers, the physicians and the support staff in one space and to (offer) a great experience for patients at the same time,” he said.
To that end, the Plumb Heart Center project has three main goals:
Clinical excellence. Dr. Quinn noted that Mercy Medical Center has been named one of the nation’s top 50 cardiovascular hospitals for several years by Fortune and IBM Watson Health (now Merative), and for the past two years, Mercy has received a three-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for open heart surgery, the highest rating available, placing the hospital in the top 10% of open-heart surgical programs in the country.
Development of a standalone heart center will help maintain that standard, Dr. Quinn said. The hospital has been offering open-heart surgery since receiving a Certificate of Need from the state’s Health Facilities Review Council in November 2016, and the first such surgery at Mercy was conducted in November 2017.
Experiential excellence. The goal here, Dr. Quinn said, is to have an open environment for patients. The Plumb Heart Center will include an interactive educational center, as well as space for training programs, both for health care workers and the larger community. For example, Mercy plans to offer community CPR training at the new center.
“We want to be a welcoming presence,” he said. “The more that we can create community engagement and get people involved early with an open, welcoming environment, the better we’re going to be at detecting problems early. We’re trying to create a way to engage with the community in ways that hospitals don’t typically do, and certainly unique to this community.”
Innovative excellence. Beyond offering a new patient experience, Dr. Quinn said the Plumb Heart Center will allow Mercy to not only expand its current services, but bring new services on board.
“We started out with a basic cardiology group, and now we’ve grown into pediatric cardiology, electrophysiology, a valve disorder clinic and heart failure services,” he said.
Most recently, the hospital added a cardio-oncology unit, combining services at the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center for patients who have heart conditions and have also been treated for cancer.
The Heart Center at Mercy will offer patients access to advanced technologies and treatments, as well as feature patient conveniences along the continuum of care, from prevention and screening to diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
The center will also include an indoor track with exterior-facing windows, and a unique feature that extends a portion of the track outside the building, weather permitting. The outdoor portion can be closed off as weather conditions dictate.
“That will be a great experience for patients to get some fresh air while doing cardiac rehab,” he said. “Their rehab might go on for weeks and months, depending on the individual case, so we wanted something that would be brightening to the spirit, not a track in a basement somewhere.”
The new center will also be connected to the main hospital, near the emergency room, via a skywalk across Eighth Avenue, Dr. Quinn said.
“When we have chest pain patients in our emergency room, we want to make sure that both doctors and patients have quick access to the heart center,” he said.
A major portion of funding for the Plumb Heart Center is being provided through a gift from the Jewel and Jim Plumb estate. The gift is one of the largest in Mercy’s history, Dr. Quinn said, and made the overall project financially feasible.
The Plumb family has an extensive legacy in Cedar Rapids. Jim Plumb inherited Iowa Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids from his father and later sold the company to Howard Hall, the longtime business leader whose family built the Brucemore mansion. Mr. Plumb died in 2004, and Ms. Plumb died in 2019, and Dr. Quinn said the Plumbs had a longstanding affinity for Mercy.
“The two of them also had care here,” he noted. “These were two individuals who were incredibly generous, and we’re very thankful.”
Ryan Companies is serving as the Plumb Heart Center’s general contractor.