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RRSTAR: Ready for Moving Day: Mercyhealth Plans Patient Transfer to New Hospital Campus

ROCKFORD (Rockford Register Star) — Ambulances will start hauling patients before sunrise Saturday as Mercyhealth makes a one-day move into a $505 million facility along the city’s Interstate 90 corridor.

The 30 private ambulances will move 135 patients, nearly half of them babies and children, until around dusk.

And every single one of those patients will have a bedside registered nurse watching over them from the moment they leave Mercyhealth’s hospital on the west side until they get to their room at the health system’s new hospital on the far east side.

“Over 200 of our employee/partners have each spent well over 400 hours on mock tabletop and live drills on how to safely and smoothly move our patients,” Javon R. Bea, president and CEO of Rockford-based Mercyhealth, said in an email. “Beyond normal staffing, we will have over 500 partners and volunteers on January 5 helping move our patients.”

Both hospitals bear Bea’s name: Javon Bea Hospital and Physician Clinic-Rockton at 2400 N. Rockton Ave., with its Rockford Memorial Hospital roots dating to 1855, and Javon Bea Hospital and Physician Clinic-Riverside at 8201 E. Riverside Blvd., a stone’s throw from I-90. Bea, a Rockford native, joined the then-Janesville, Wisconsin-based Mercy Health System in 1989 as its top administrator.

“Our top priorities are patient safety and the safety of our employee partners,” said Doreen Timm, chief nursing officer.

All women’s and children’s services are moving to the Riverside campus. Adults will be served at both campuses, and emergency and surgical services will be available at both as well. The Rockton Avenue campus will emphasize services for adults and will offer inpatient dialysis and orthopedic and behavioral health services.

As some services transition out of the Rockton Avenue campus, a free shuttle will transport patients and family members between campuses every hour and a half from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for care including scheduled surgeries, doctor’s appointments and lab work.

Here are the number of beds at each location:

  • Riverside — 194, which includes 72 adult beds, 18 adult intensive care beds for adults, 52 beds for small babies and those in the neonatal intensive care unit, 12 pediatric beds and 8 pediatric intensive care unit beds, as well as 32 beds for mothers who are postpartum and at high risk.
  • Rockton Avenue — 94, all serving adults, with 70 regular beds, 4 intensive care beds and 20 behavioral health beds.

“With hospitals on each side of Rockford and 89 area clinics, patients will have access day or night for critical or convenient care needs,” Bea said. “The combination of our two campuses — the Riverside and Rockton campuses — will bring the breadth and depth of specialty medical services in the Rockford region to an exciting new level.”

Georgette Braun: 815-987-1331;

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