Mercy Health Specialty Pharmacies Serve Patients With Complex Diseases

3 Jacqueline Little, Pharmacy Tech, at the call center
Jacqueline Little, Pharmacy Tech at the specialty pharmacy call center in Grand Rapids

Specialty pharmacies focus on supplying patients with medications used to treat rare and/or complex diseases, including Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis. Recently, across West Michigan, Mercy Health opened several specialty pharmacies to better serve patients.









Hackley Pharmacy 2In Muskegon: Hackley Professional Pharmacy is located on the first floor of the Hackley Professional Building located just to the east of Mercy Health Hackley Hospital (1675 Leahy St, Suite 111).

The pharmacy team works with health care providers, manufacturers and insurance companies to better manage complex diseases. The dedicated and trained staff of pharmacists and technicians provide close patient monitoring and follow-up to ensure favorable therapeutic outcomes and ongoing improvement. The pharmacy is being remodeled, which will be completed in May.






MH PHarmacy Solutions Entrance with Heather Curtis
Heather Curtis, Pharmacy Tech, greets patients at the new facility

In Grand Rapids: Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions is a new specialty pharmacy located in the Grand Rapids area. The new state-of-the-art facility is conveniently located in close proximity to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s downtown campus, in the Dioceses of Grand Rapids building (360 Division Ave S, Suite 1E). When possible, patients in Grand Rapids will have an in-person medication education visit prior to starting their medication. These visits will be conducted by a clinical pharmacist and will provide a more personalized approach for the service offerings currently being provided by various mail-order specialty pharmacies. Patients will also have a choice when it comes to how they get their refills; options include pick-up at Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions or at other Mercy Health Saint Mary’s retail pharmacy locations (Mercy Health Pharmacy Wege Center, Mercy Health Pharmacy Southwest or Mercy Health Pharmacy Rockford), or they can opt to have medications delivered to an address of patient choice. The staff at Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions follow up with patients on a routine basis to check on medication tolerability and to ensure medication compliance, which leads to optimal therapy outcomes. In addition, the billing department at Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions works diligently with insurance providers, manufacturers and various foundations to secure medications at an affordable cost for all patients.

With the fast pace of everyday life, Mercy Health pharmacy staff strive to meet everyone’s unique needs by offering compliance packaging, coordinated, no-charge local home delivery or mailing, and 24/7 phone services to address any patients’ questions and concerns.

In addition to opening these new specialty pharmacies, Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions and Hackley Professional Pharmacy are both actively pursuing separate URAC accreditations, which will give each pharmacy leverage in drug acquisition and insurance contracting, thus affording Mercy Health the opportunity to serve even more patients within the Grand Rapids metro area, the Lakeshore and beyond. URAC accreditation is not a small feat, as this process will take a number of months for each pharmacy to complete. Both pharmacies hope to be fully accredited by Fall 2017.

Questions? Contact:

  • Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions at 616.685.1080, Monday through Fridays, 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Hackley Professional Pharmacy at 231.672.7836, Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

Accident Simulation Meaningful for 300 Northview High Students

girl in long gown downDid you know that the number one cause of death for teens is motor vehicle crashes? Mercy Health aims to educate and create awareness about the dangers of distracted and drunken driving through simulated car accidents at local high schools.





Damaged Red CarIn strong partnership with several local agencies, including Plainfield Fire Department, Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Life EMS and the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercy Health participated in a simulation on Monday, April 24, 2017, at Northview High School — one in a series of three throughout community high schools this spring.




Injured Teens 2The event featured a live, simulated car accident sequence involving several students as well as representatives from the partner agencies. The demonstration focused on the following sequence of events:

An extrication of students from a crashed vehicle

A simulated emergency room visit

  1. A funeral/memorial service for one of the student participants
  2. A court sentencing for the student who “caused” the accident


Extracting Injured PassengerEach participating agency “responded” to the simulation from staging points around the schoolyard at Northview High School, whose 300-member junior class was in attendance.





Suspect in custody of sheriff dept.“We had several students, parents and staff tearing up,” said Amy Calvert, EMS and Injury Prevention Coordinator, who helps coordinate the hospital’s efforts around the simulations. “Mercy Health participates because we want to help our teens understand that motor vehicles are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Our goal of this program is that the students will change their driving behaviors from having participated in this.”



Students Observing EventPlainfield Fire Department has been conducting these car accident simulations at high schools since 2012. “High school age children may know about fire safety, but they fail to realize that motor vehicle accidents are the number-one killer of teens,” said Kyle Svoboda, Plainfield Fire Department.

Mercy Health is also participating simulations at Byron Center High School and Forest Hills Central High School.

Tanya Fairchild, RN, Receives Mercy Health Muskegon DAISY Award

Tanya Fairchild, March 2017Mercy Health Muskegon’s March 2017 DAISY Award winner  is Tanya Fairchild, RN, from the HEART Center. Tanya was nominated by her leader, Blair Moreau, Director of Heart & Vascular Services.

“Tanya is currently working with a young man in the Phase II Cardiac Rehab program who recently underwent a serious heart surgery. This young man’s main goal is to get back to playing hockey and ice skating (a sport and activity he truly loves). Knowing and understanding how important this goal is to the young man, Tanya reach out to the manager at Peak Performance to get this young man on the Blade Skating Treadmill. By coordinating efforts through these departments, Tanya was able to make this a reality. Tanya agreed to bring monitoring equipment and monitor the young man the entire time on the treadmill.

In October 2016, Tanya and the manager at Peak made this young man’s dream come true. With his mom present, the young man made his skating debut (first time in five years). Many joyful tears were shed by mom watching her son do an activity he loves in a safe and monitored environment. The mom said, ‘our hearts are full of gratitude!'” It was an amazing  moment for all involved.”

Tanya was honored with a surprise celebration at the HEART Center in front of her leader, peers and patients.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Celebrates Outstanding Colleagues

Each year, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and Mercy Health Physician Partners honor colleagues who embody the organization’s Guiding Behaviors. These colleagues serve as role models for others and are honored each quarter by President Bill Manns at a Colleague Awards Ceremony. The next Colleague Awards Ceremony is tomorrow on 5 Lacks, where the following individuals will be recognized for their exceptional impact on quality care and service delivery.

Rhonda Bultman, PCA, 4 Lacks

Bultman, Rhonda-2Well-respected by her coworkers for having the heart of a servant, Rhonda Bultman has demonstrated outstanding compassion to one of our long-term patients. Rhonda has been able to establish a trusting relationship with a man who was difficult to care for because of his wariness of others. Rhonda made sure that his room was decorated for Christmas, that he has movies he enjoys, and that his hair and clothing are cared for. His family does not visit regularly, so Rhonda has taken it upon herself to be mindful of what brings him comfort.

When outside agencies came to help with this man’s placement, Rhonda served as a valuable resource for how to gain his trust. She worked with the skilled nursing facility team for two days to help them understand this patient’s preferences and desires, with the goal of ensuring this man’s long-term placement success.

Rhonda makes our mission come to life. She cares for the underserved and forgotten, and that is why we saw such a tremendous change in this patient. She doesn’t seek recognition for her good work, and Rhonda is loved by all who work with her.

Lisa DeVries, PharmD, Oncology

DeVries, Lisa-2During interdisciplinary rounds on 4 Lacks, Lisa DeVries, PharmD, is engaged and positive, and she communicates with humor and compassion to our patients. She works tirelessly with patients to overcome the hurdles and red tape to get the medications they need. She is actively involved in collaboration, problem-solving and patient satisfaction to make our patients’ hospital stays the best possible.

Lisa takes the role of steward very seriously. On many occasions, she has found alternative solutions to save both the patient and the hospital costs on medication. Lisa encourages others to be good stewards and solution-oriented by encouraging openness. Colleagues eagerly await her arrival to the unit to ask questions and elicit support to meet patient needs.

Lisa has been a long-time supporter of Mercy Health, its mission and many volunteer opportunities that improve the community. She is a blood donor who has reached the 3.2 gallon mark, a participant in Relay for Life for many years, a supporter of the Drug Takeback program and a leader in starting the Infusion Center.

Lisa is very compassionate and caring for all of our patients and our entire community.

Julia Guest, RN, Rockford Urgent Care

Guest, Julia-2Julia is a rock for many Urgent Care colleagues. Last year was challenging with multiple schedule changes. To help prepare, Julia proactively offered to create a new schedule. She reached out to each staff member to figure out his or her preference on days and shifts. Then she worked diligently on a schedule that would please everyone in the department. It was not an easy task, but leadership and her colleagues greatly appreciated her efforts.

Julia goes above and beyond to ensure that patients and their families receive compassionate care at Urgent Care. If she sees any concern or possible miscommunication, she will talk with the patient, even if the patient is not assigned to her.

Julia speaks up each time she encounters an issue or a tip that she can share with her coworkers. Recently, she has written a playful, informative email called, “Julia’s Tips and Tricks” or “Julia’s Weekly Words of Wisdom,” to help colleagues provide better care for our patients. Staff seem to truly appreciate it.

I have worked with Julia for many years, and I have known her to be one of the most positive, encouraging and friendly people to work with. She is always in a good mood and offering to help others. Julia is never afraid to step up and help solve a problem.

Kathy Mills, Environmental Services

Mills, Kathy-2Frequently recognized by the patients that she serves on 8 Main, peers describe Kathy Mills as “dedicated, honest, thorough and customer-oriented.”

Kathy cleans every patient’s room as if it were her own home. She ensures an environment for every patient that promotes healing, safety and cleanliness. While cleaning every room, Kathy converses with the patients and makes personal connections with each of them, greeting them with a warm and friendly smile.

Kathy has built collaborative relationships with both colleagues and leadership on 8 Main. She shares her knowledge and skills to help others also ensure a clean environment for all of our patients.

Kathy understands how her contributions in Environmental Services have an impact on the overall success of the organization, and she strives for perfection in every situation.

Kathy’s high performance, drive and dedication to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s motivate others to also strive for the best.



Inspiring Others Through Blood Donation – Lisa DeVries, PharmD

Lisa Devries
Lisa DeVries, PharmD, has donated 3.2 gallons of blood through the onsite blood drives, hosted by Michigan Blood.

A longtime blood donor, Lisa DeVries, PharmD, is inspired to donate blood at the Michigan Blood drives onsite at Mercy Health because of her calling of working in Oncology. “I donate blood because it makes me feel good to think that I may be helping one of my very own patients!”

DeVries doesn’t miss a blood drive at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus, citing convenience of location as to why she donates so often.

Thanks to her tenacity and love of altruistic giving, DeVries has hit the 3.2 gallon mark and has been an inspiration to her colleagues, students and pharmacy residents, who have donated alongside her over the years.

“Donating blood is a fulfilling gift, and it’s always needed.”

If you are interested in donating blood, attend the blood drives held onsite by Michigan Blood, or visit for more information.

Next onsite blood drive is Friday, April 21! You can schedule an appointment here>>

Do you donate blood at Mercy Health? We want to hear from you! Please email for consideration.

Congratulations to Abby Howell, 8 Main, February 2017 DAISY Award for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Abby Howell
Abby Howell, BSN, RN, who works on 8 Main, is the recipient of February 2017’s DAISY Award at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Howell was nominated by two separate colleagues, both noting her compassion and willingness to communicate respectfully with patients and their families.

The Work Environment Council (WEC) presented Abby Howell BSN, RN, 8 Main, with a DAISY Award in February 2017. Howell was nominated by two separate people, Tim Petersen BSN, RN, PCCN and David Vander Ark MSN, RN-BC professional development specialist.

Petersen shared a story of a stroke patient that Abby effectively calmed down and began communicating with. Due to his stroke, the patient was very upset and even swinging at staff. “Abby recognized the patient was acting out due to frustration from not being able to communicate with anyone. She looked for a communication board on her unit. When she could not find one, Abby took the time to me create one herself. The patient was extremely grateful and became much more cooperative and no longer lashed out at staff.”

Vander Ark described an instance where Howell’s compassion and empathy were amazing.

Just a week after she finished orientation as a new graduate nurse, Howell was interacting with a patient and his wife. Vander Ark said, “This patient was going through alcohol withdrawal and was acting out in a very difficult way. Despite the patient’s rudeness, Abby was calm and patient with him….and was also very compassionate and supportive to his wife, who was very distraught through this situation. When Abby came out of the room, I commented to her about how she had communicated with this family during a really challenging situation. Abby’s response showed a depth of empathy that is rare for a new nurse: ‘I just put myself in her shoes. He didn’t plan to become an alcoholic, and she didn’t do anything wrong. I couldn’t blame her for the way he was acting.'”

Thank you Howell for all you do to take excellent care for our patients!



Mercy Health Mercy Campus Receives A for Patient Safety for Spring 2017 from The Leapfrog Group

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health care system, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide.  Mercy Health Mercy Campus was one of 823 hospitals to receive an “A” for its commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients.

Photo of Mercy Health Mercy Campus, before construction began several months ago.

“Hospitals that earn top marks nationally in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, ‘have achieved  the highest safety standards in the country,’” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “That takes commitment from every member of the hospital staff, who all deserve thanks and congratulations when their hospitals achieve an ‘A’ Safety Grade.”

Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

To see Mercy Health Mercy Campus’ full grade, and to access consumer-friendly patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit or follow the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers can also download the free Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

Do You Have a Plan? April 16 is National Healthcare Decision Day

  • Are you responsible for making medical decisions for a parent?
  • Would your children wonder how to make decisions for you in the future?

who will speakYour quality of life should never be left up to a guess. Give your loved ones a gift, Peace of Mind. Let them know what is important to you in a healthcare emergency before it happens.

April 16th is National Healthcare Decision Day, an annual event which aims to help people across the country understand the value of Advance Care Planning (ACP).  ACP is the process of discussing what a person’s health care decisions would be if they were unable to make them, designating and preparing a Patient Advocate to make those decisions.

Based on the internationally renowned Respecting Choices® model developed by Gundersen Lutheran Health System in Wisconsin,  Mercy Health offers trained ACP facilitators to assist patients, colleagues and community members to sit down for a conversation about their values, goals, beliefs and treatment preferences that will help them communicate their wishes with their advocate, family and healthcare providers.

During the week of April 17 – 21 representatives of the Mercy Health Advance Care Planning program will be available The Urban Platter from noon-1:30 p.m. to assist you in taking an active role in your health care decisions.

If you cannot attend this event, but would still like more information about Advance Care Planning please visit our website at  or contact ACP Program Coordinator Nicky Lewis at or 685-6115.

8 out of 10 people strongly believe it’s important to put their wishes in writing. 2 out of 10 people actually do so.

At Mercy Health, we strive to change the stereotype of Advance Care Planning.






Recognizing Our Patient Access Colleagues

group shot
Centralized Schedulers from Muskegon celebrate their “superhero” powers of working with patients.

“You don’t have to wear a cape to be a superhero!”

In the face of our quickly changing health care environment, there is one constant, the Patient Access departments, which consist of:

  • Centralized Scheduling,
  • Financial Clearance (PreRegistration),
  • OutPatient/Inpatient/Emergency Room Registration,
  • Benefit Advocacy (Financial Counseling),
  • and Cashiering.

The first interaction patients have often begins with the Access department, which makes it necessary to have a friendly face to connect with.

At Mercy Health, we recruit and engage positive representatives with a positive and compassionate demeanor. Our Patient Access Colleagues take pride in connecting professionally and courteously with every patient, every time.

Patients sometimes feel apprehensive and need support. “When people aren’t feeling well, we need to be fast, accurate and friendly,” Muskegon Patient Access UBC Chair, Kathy Helsel, noted. “If we don’t do our job right, the problems reverberate throughout the hospital.”

“Patient Access is the bridge that brings our patients to the medical staff to receive the clinical care they need. We touch all areas of the hospital, creating a unity between all departments,” says Samantha DeBoer, Patient Access Representative II Rockford site.

Patient Access is an integral part of the Hospital Revenue Cycle. Capturing accurate patient demographics ensures patient safety. Our colleagues are well versed with  the regulations of various insurance companies and offer strong financial customer service. They are responsible for a broad spectrum of responsibilities and demonstrate the Trinity Health mission, vision, and values in behaviors, practices and decisions.

Click through for a slideshow of a recent celebration for these colleagues. The puzzles will be affixed to the walls in Patient Access departments.  Note the catch phrase, Thanks for being a “piece” of the change.  The photos of the legacy buildings are surrounding the new tower rendition as a way to engage everyone in the culture of change.

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Successful Match Day for Residency Programs at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

emotions run high as residents are matched into programs, resized
Much hugging and excitement were witnessed during the Match Day ceremony on March 17, 2017.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is a new sponsoring institution for Residency and Fellowship Programs. Thanks to a successful recruiting season, on Friday March 17, 2017, there was a successful matching of 19 residents with all of our future Mercy Health Saint Mary’s residency programs. Four fellows were also matched to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s programs.

Beginning July 1, 2017, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s will be the new sponsoring institution for select residency and fellowship programs in transfer from Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners  Newly developed programs will also be sponsored over the next few years as well.  In affiliation with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, the following programs will change sponsorships to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s (including Program Directors):

  • Family Medicine Residency (Dr. Michael Bishop)
  • Neurology Residency (Dr. Christopher Morgan)
  • Geriatric Medicine Fellowship (Dr. Rob Riekse)
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship (Dr. John Mulder)

In addition, a new Internal Medicine residency program will also be started at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s on July 1, 2017, under the direction of Dr. Mark Spoolstra.

match day at MSU
Mercy Health Saint Mary’s successfully matched all their new residency programs, in affiliation with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

According to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Director of Medical Education, Dr. John vanSchagen, the successful recruitment season resulted in filling all offered positions within these sponsored programs.  Dr. vanSchagen states, “Kudos to our Program Directors and the faculty members of our graduate medical education programs for their solid work to continue the success of our training programs at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s!”

Congratulations to our entering 2017 residents!

Watch for a follow-up story on our new residents and program in the next few weeks.