SPRINGFIELD — A Catholic blessing may have opened Springfield’s new $235 million hospital but people of all faiths can find healing inside its doors.
At a ribbon-cutting Friday for the new downtown Springfield Regional Medical Center, the Most Rev. Daniel E. Pilarczyk and Archbishop Emeritus, with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, spread holy water along the threshold, intoning that God asks his children “to care compassionately for the sick.”
The new hospital is the final realization of the Community Hospital and Mercy Medical Center merger that has been several years in the making. The downtown campus is one of the largest construction projects in recent memory.
Doing God’s work is part of Catholic Health Partners’ mission but President and CEO Mark Wiener said in no way will it inhibit care.
“We have a collaborative arrangement with the Community Health Foundation so that those clinical services that fall outside the ethical religious (directives) of the church can and will continue to be provided,” Wiener said.
The not-for-profit conglomerate Catholic Health Partners got its start in the late 1800s, according to Marianne Potina, vice president for mission services.
“These Catholic health care organizations started as clinics,” she said. “They believed they were called to respond to the needs of the community, caring for the sick. Sometimes when parents were sick, they’d take the children back to the convent so the children weren’t exposed.”
Yet, just because the organization is helmed in large part by Catholics doesn’t mean there’s a bias toward whom they care for, Potina said.
“It’s a community hospital with a Catholic connection,” Potina said.
The new hospital has crosses on the wall in every patient room —not crucifixes, which have a figure of Jesus. Psalms and quotes from the Bible adorn hospital walls. It’s all meant more for comfort than conversion.
“We serve the entire community of Springfield and the entire area,” Wiener said. “Our mission is to provide care for those regardless of their ability to pay.”
Potina said part of what makes Springfield Regional different from secular hospitals is that its employees can care for the mind, body and spirit.
“We look at the whole person,” Potina said.
Today marks the only chance residents will have to tour the hospital. An open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Staff are still working on the finishing touches of paint and supplies before patients are transferred to the new facility in less than two weeks.