Time is Life Annual Event

    Annual Mercy Health training event for EMS partners

Providing remarkable health care is not always accomplished on our own. Even before patients arrive at our hospital, our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) partners have often provided care. In recognition of this partnership, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s holds an annual Time is Life event, providing our EMS partners an opportunity to learn from Mercy Health providers while gaining continuing education EMS medical credits.

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“We are beyond excited to put on this Time is Life event for our EMS partners. They play a critical role in clinical outcomes, and their prehospital care management and assessment is crucial,” said Dawn Korenstra, BSN, RN, EMS and Injury Prevention Coordinator at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Our goals are to build relationships, increase communication, and improve knowledge together to better help our community.”

The focus of this year’s event was educating participants about the difference in signs and symptoms of cardiac, stroke or imposters. The event included five breakout sessions featuring hands-on demonstrations and reviews of patient cases.

EMS partners from Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon and Grand Rapids were invited to attend.

Mercy Health Bariatric Programs Earn Re-accreditation

Muskegon and Saint Mary’s have been accredited since 2006 and 2010, respectively

Mercy Health — at both Saint Mary’s and in Muskegon — recently received re-accreditation as a Bariatric program from Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a national bariatric surgery program that works with accredited hospitals to meet bariatric surgery criteria set by both The American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

This recognition for national standard of excellence and accreditation has been awarded to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s since 2010, and to Mercy Health Muskegon since 2006.

Drs. Paul Kemmeter and Brian Gluck lead our Bariatric Surgical programs in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, respectively, along with multidisciplinary teams of clinical providers throughout the bariatric patient continuum: from pre-op education and weight loss, to the inpatient and perioperative teams, through the comprehensive post-surgical support network of dietitians, exercise physiologists and behavioral health specialists.

Mercy Health’s programs are identified consistently among the leading programs within the state for clinical outcomes excellence and patient results by the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC) sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan and the University of Michigan.

Congratulations to our Bariatrics Teams for this accomplishment!

Lowering Your Risk for Disease

Did you know that according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics eating a healthier diet is one of the first lines of defense in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart disease?

March is National Nutrition Month and Mercy Health would like to encourage you to care for yourself, and your loved ones, by reminding you of the importance of healthier eating, spiritual well-being and preventive care.

The American Diabetes Association says that healthier eating is one of the most important things we can do to lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that following a healthier diet can help prevent high blood pressure and may lower blood pressure that is already over the normal range.

Below are some tips from the NIH to help you make healthier food choices every day:

  • Keep healthier snacks, such as fruit and vegetables, at home and at work
  • Pack healthier lunches for you and your family
  • Choose low-fat diary products
  • Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, brown rice, pasta or oatmeal
  • Select lean meats and poultry
  • Choose more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds as protein sources

Another great way to reduce your risk of developing disease is by maintaining spiritual wellness. According to Mental Health America, there is a connection between spirituality and health. Spirituality can reduce the stress that often drives disease Mercy Health offers the following suggestions to keep your good health:

  • Discover and rediscover what makes your life meaningful. Find what brings your life purpose and align your choices with it. Wherever your passion is, there you’ll find your purpose.
  • Nurture your connection with God/your Higher Power through regular spiritual practices. Some people choose prayer, others meditate, some read Scripture, and others walk through nature. Whatever helps you in your relationship with the Divine, make time to foster your awareness of the Sacred.
  • The Center for Engaged Spirituality provides lots of information on various spiritual practices.
  • Connect with others who share your values. Having meaningful relationships with others, with focus on what is important to us, reminds us that we are not alone and can often bring joy to our lives.
  • Find opportunities to serve. Helping others in need, either through volunteer work or some other means, nurtures our spirit when we feel our actions make a positive difference for other people.

Last, but not least, getting annual physicals and tests from your doctor is key in sustaining your health and preventing diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice.

If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

Mercy Health is committed to providing resources that promote your well-being though body, mind and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer Tours Mercy Health Physician Partners Quarterline Family Medicine; Meets Separately With Talent Acquisition to Learn About Closing Skills Gap

Rebecca Cherry, practice manager; Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Katie Alfredson, DNP, AGNP-C, lead nurse practitioner; and Gary Allore, president, Mercy Health Muskegon, take a tour led by Cherry and Alfredson.

Twice in less than a week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer met with Mercy Health colleagues and leaders to learn how Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are closing the skills gap through collaboration with our community partners.

Gov. Whitmer visited Mercy Health Physician Partners (MHPP) Quarterline Family Medicine on the campus of Muskegon Community College (MCC) on February 18, 2019. The visit was part of a 50-event “Home for Opportunity” tour, aimed at closing the skills gap in Michigan so workers have the training they need to fill in-demand jobs. Gov. Whitmer met with Mercy Health Muskegon President Gary Allore and MHPP Quarterline Family Medicine leaders, Rebecca Cherry, practice manager, and Katie Alfredson, DNP, AGNP-C, lead nurse practitioner, to discuss the strategies Mercy Health is using to keep our health care talent local and keep our communities healthier in the process.

Quarterline Family Medicine is the first nurse practitioner-led clinic for Mercy Health. The clinic represents the successful collaboration of Grand Valley State University, MCC and Mercy Health Muskegon to bring a transformative and innovative health care service to the community.

Opened on February 11, 2019, MHPP Quarterline provides robust, interdisciplinary education to the health care students who rotate through the facility and allows Mercy Health the opportunity to create a local talent pipeline for medical assistants, nurses and other high-demand health care jobs now and into the future. The clinic will provide care for residents in the currently underserved Eastside area of Muskegon and MCC nursing and medical assistant students opportunities to earn required clinical hours.

Katie Alfredson, DNP, AGNP-C, lead nurse practitioner welcomes Gov. Whitmer to MHPP Quarterline Family Medicine.

Alfredson and Cherry led the group through the new facility. The tour included the onsite lab and eight exam rooms full of uplifting, bright murals that showcase the beauty of the West Michigan lakeshore. Additionally, the governor was able to meet the current Medical Assistant Apprenticeship program students, view the co-working stations, and see how the 4,000 square-foot Mercy Health clinic is seamlessly integrated into Muskegon Community College’s campus.

“Considering that Governor Whitmer is such a proponent of education, it was really exciting to show her the results of Mercy Health’s collaborative efforts,” said Alfredson.

Following the tour, a crowd gathered inside the Health and Wellness Center gymnasium to hear the governor speak more about the skills gap issue facing the State of Michigan.


Governor Whitmer with representatives from various community partners, including Grand Rapids Community College and from Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Shana Welch, on far right.

“We in Michigan, we are the place people used to move to from around the world for opportunity,” said Gov. Whitmer as she addressed the group. “In Michigan, you could get a good job that would pay you well enough, but when we look at where Michigan ranks compared to the rest of the world and the skills gap, we’re dramatically behind.”

MHPP Quarterline Family Medicine provides a perfect setting not only for community members to receive care, but it also serves as a place for various student disciplines to gain valuable clinical or health care experience.

“We are extremely proud of the collaborative partnerships we have with our West Michigan educational institutions,” said Allore. “Not only will students be able to train alongside our Mercy Health nurse practitioners, but the goal is to engage with them early on so that we are their first choice for employment when they graduate from MCC.”

Gov. Whitmer was not only interested in the MHPP Quarterline Practice, but also showed interest in how Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are closing the skills gap on a broader level throughout the state.

Shana Welch executive director, Talent Acquisition, Michigan, was invited to a private conversation with Gov. Whitmer on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, to share how our organizations collaborate with community partners and workforce boards to develop apprenticeship and short-term credentialed programs.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Shana Welch, who has been asked to serve as the lead Healthcare Employer representative for the Governor’s Michigan Talent Investment Agency.

The conversations will continue, as Welch has also been asked by the governor’s Michigan Talent Investment Agency to be the lead Healthcare Employer to develop a statewide Healthcare Workforce sector strategy.

Additionally, Welch has recently accepted the opportunity to serve on the Michigan Talent Investment Agency Executive Development Committee, which aims to improve and strengthen statewide career and technical education programs.




Mercy Health Hauenstein Neuroscience Center Celebrates a Decade of Hope and Healing

Members of the Hauenstein family celebrated ten years of the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Center with clinical leaders and members of the Saint Mary’s Foundation on Friday, February 15, 2019.

Thanks to the thoughtful vision and a generous donation of late philanthropist and community leader, Ralph Hauenstein, the bricks and mortar building of the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neuroscience Center opened in 2009. Located at 220 Cherry St., SE, Grand Rapids, the center is known as an innovative, multidisciplinary destination to treat, diagnose and care for patients experiencing neurological disorders. Mercy Health colleagues, donors and members of the Hauenstein family celebrated the building’s tenth anniversary on Friday, February 15, 2019.

Begun solely as a Parkinson’s Clinic in 2002, today Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences boasts more than 20 comprehensive, award-winning programs and clinics that treat people with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, stroke, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease and many more disorders. Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences treats people from across the state, seeing patients not only at the center’s location, but also in Grand Haven and Muskegon.

“We thank our physicians, nurses, medical staff, donors, and especially our patients and their families, who help us continue the vision of Ralph Hauenstein, to offer to everyone the ‘very best in neuroscience care,'” said Herm Sullivan, MD, medical director, Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences, during the ten-year celebration.

Brian Hauenstein, grandson of Ralph Hauenstein, addresses and thanks the crowd.

Other event speakers included Phil McCorkle, president emeritus, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, who met Ralph Hauenstein while he was hospitalized at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s a number of years ago. During his hospitalization, Hauenstein had then asked McCorkle, “What can I do for the hospital?” From this conversation emerged the Parkinson’s Clinic, which quickly outgrew its space, giving way to the plan and dream of building the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neuroscience Center.

Brian Hauenstein, grandson of Ralph Hauenstein and Saint Mary’s Foundation Board trustee, thanked everyone on behalf of his family: “I’d like to take on the tradition of coming by now and then to walk the halls, just like my grandfather did — just to check in and thank the staff.”

For more information on comprehensive neurological care at Mercy Health, please visit https://www.mercyhealth.com/medical-services/neurosciences/.

Mercy Health Muskegon Security Officer Receives Achievement Award

Securitas and Mercy Health Muskegon leadership met recently to award Russell Bracey (third from the left) the first-ever Security UBC Officer Achievement Award.

Andrew Bosma, UBC Chair, had this to say about Bracey:

“Russell has been a Protective Service Officer for eight months and was a key part of the inspiration behind the creation of the Officer Achievement Award. During his career with the Security Department, Russell continuously shows a dedication to customer service, professionalism, positivity, and personal growth. Every day he comes in with a smile and an easy laugh and passes his good mood on to his fellow officers, as well as staff and visitors he comes into contact with. He has become a valued member of our team.”

The Security UBC Officer Achievement Award was created to show appreciation for, and to recognize, those officers who have shown a dedication to improvement, customer service, positivity and reliability. The award would be presented on a quarterly basis with Security UBC members nominating those officers to be recognized.  An award recipient will be chosen from the group of nominees by the UBC. The UBC is made up of Courtesy Officers, Protective Service Officers, Armed Security Officers, and Supervisors. This award is one way of saying thanks to our fellow officers for all they do.

Congratulations, Bracey, on this achievement!

Managing Your Health While Living With a Chronic Condition

Have you recently been diagnosed with a chronic condition? Are you not able to properly manage your symptoms? Do you feel confused about the appropriate care needed to successfully manage your condition and prevent additional illnesses?

If so, review your health benefits for special programs designed to assist and support individuals with your condition so you can live a healthy life.

For example, you may be able to work with a nurse through your health plan who can:


  • Give you online resources to use anytime
  • Review the treatment plan and medications your doctor gave you
  • Explain possible side effects and answer your questions
  • Work with you over time to help you meet your goals for managing your health condition(s)

If you receive an outreach call from a nurse, please remember to return the call if you miss it.

Most importantly, have regular conversations with your primary care physician to discuss any of your health concerns and actions you can take to maintain or improve your well-being.

Mercy Health is committed to helping you live a healthy life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.

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Congratulations to Cohort 12 of the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s RN Residency Program

Cohort 12 of Nursing Residency Program at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

On February 7, 2019, Cohort 12 of the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s RN Residency Program presented their projects to Mercy Health colleagues while also celebrating their graduation.

“During our yearlong program that runs concurrently with their first year of nursing, these nurses completed evidence-based clinical practice projects designed to improve patient care and provide networking experiences within Mercy Health,” said, Sarah Choryan, RN, Professional Development Specialty Nursing.

While presenting their projects on a range of topics, several of these enthusiastic nurses shared their insights regarding the benefits that Mercy Health Saint Mary’s RN Residency Program provided for them as caregivers and clinical professionals.

Michael Baker, RN, (8 Main): “This program was beneficial. It helps mold you to being more confident as a caregiver. It helps you reflect on how you can better care for your patients. Our topic was Promoting Nursing Resiliency. We focused on compassion fatigue — the physical, emotional and spiritual sacrifices you make at work and how that impacts your work and personal life.”

Jade Bouvrette, RN, (ED): “We studied how to improve the standardized handoff when moving septic patients from the ER to the UCU. From a clinical standpoint, this study will help increase the efficiency of our handoffs from nurse to nurse. On a personal level, this program did more to improve my confidence as a nurse. There are other new nurses who also shared their experiences. During these past 12 months, we realized that we are all new, we are all learning, and no one is being left behind.”

Katie Kidder, RN, (Hauenstein 2, ICU): “It was really beneficial to form connections with people from different units. Our specific project helped me dig deeper into the needs of our unit.”

Katie Mastbergen, RN, (NICU): “Being in this residency program made me realize the support I have from colleagues not only in this cohort but also on my unit. I now know who my go-to’s are for more expertise.”

Kelly Scharboneau, RN, (4 Lacks): “Our study about Chest Tube Dressing Management allowed us to test whether our current practice helps to prevent infection. Our findings confirmed that it does. During this year I went through challenges I didn’t think I could overcome. This program is amazing — you share your stories, and you learn so much from others.

Jordan Sternik, RN, (Hauenstein 3): “My big takeaway was realizing that caring for a patient’s emotions is as important as taking care of someone physically.”

Cohort 12’s participants listed alphabetically:

Michael Baker

Jade Bouvrette

Jacqueline Deacon

Chelsey Downer*

Alyssa Drew

Katie Kidder

Sabrina Legace

Katie Mastbergen

Natasha Russell

Kelly Scharboneau

Kelsey Zinkil

*Not pictured.

Third Gold Seal of Approval for Total Hip, Total Knee and Total Shoulder Certification

The Joint Commission once again awards Mercy Health Saint Mary’s its Gold Seal of Approval for Total Hip, Total Knee and Total Shoulder Certification. Valid for two years, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is currently the only organization in the state of Michigan to have earned the gold seal for Total Hip, Total Knee and Total Shoulder.

According to The Joint Commission, the certification provides a framework to assure excellent patient outcomes; establishes a consistent approach to care to reduce variation and risk of error; provides a pathway to excellence. Gold Seal status also allows for clinical collaboration across the continuum of care between the hospital and the surgeon’s office.

“Essentially, this Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission demonstrates Mercy Health Saint Mary’s commitment to a higher standard of clinical service to our patients,” said Laura Goodfellow, orthopedic nurse navigator, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

This certification was received with no deficiencies. Mercy Health Saint Mary’s first earned the Gold Seal in 2014, was recertified in 2016 and again in 2019.

For more information on Mercy Health Orthopedics, please visit: https://www.mercyhealth.com/medical-services/orthopedics/

For People Living with Heart Disease

Learning that you or a loved one has heart disease can change your life. However, educating yourself about this disease is the first step toward feeling better and making choices that can help you live a longer and healthier life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11.5 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with heart disease. February is American Heart Month and the following suggestions are to help navigate treatment if you or a loved one has been diagnosed:

  • Making lifestyle changes. Not smoking, following a heart healthy eating plan, maintaining a healthier weight and becoming more physically active can go a long way in helping to keep your heart disease from worsening.
  • Taking medication. Medications are often used to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure or heart disease itself. Be sure to take your medication exactly as your doctor prescribes. If you have uncomfortable side effects, let your doctor know.
  • Following doctor’s orders. Your doctor may recommend procedures to open an artery and improve blood flow. These are usually done to ease severe chest pain or to clear blockages in blood vessels.

As you know, having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy. Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

When you’re being treated for a disease or condition, it may not always be easy to decide where to go for care. For anything that is considered a life-threatening situation (like chest pain, major injuries or sudden and severe pain) it’s best to go to the emergency room.

For less severe matters that still require immediate attention, if you can’t get in to see your PCP, going to an urgent care facility can save you time and money.

Mercy Health is committed to helping you live a healthy life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.

Find a Mercy Health provider