RRSTAR: Mercyhealth Names Rockford Hospitals After CEO Javon Bea

ROCKFORD — The hospital that will open Jan. 5 at Riverside Boulevard and Interstate 90 will bear the name of Javon Bea, president and CEO of Mercyhealth, a Rockford native whom board members credit with making “sweeping changes” in the health system.

Javon Bea Hospital will be the name of the hospital within the Mercyhealth Riverside Campus, the $505 million complex on the property. In addition, the hospital within the Mercyhealth Rockton Avenue Campus will also be called Javon Bea Hospital.

“The sweeping changes he has made since 1989 have resulted in unprecedented growth, enhanced patient care, improved access and long-term stability,” said Rowland J. McClellan, chairman of Mercyhealth’s board of directors. “He has done a tremendous job.”

The naming announcement was made at a news conference Monday at the Riverside Boulevard hospital attended by about 200 people, including Bea’s wife Vita Bea and their five children.

Bea, 66, said he was “more than shocked” that the board would name the hospitals after him. He said it was an “unbelievable honor.”

Bea rose from a humble upbringing as the youngest of 12 children on the city’s west side to leading a health care organization that treats more than 2.4 million patients a year at seven hospitals and 89 primary and specialty care facilities.

“Javon has always exhibited a strong work ethic, creativity and perseverance,” McClellan said. “He has worked incredibly hard his entire life to arrive where he is today. It is his commitment, drive, passion and vision ‘to do the next right thing’ that has allowed Mercyhealth to develop into the vibrant, patient-focused system it is today.”

Thomas Budd, CEO of Rockford Bank & Trust and a Mercyhealth board member, said Bea has made significant capital investments in area hospitals and clinics, improved the health system’s financial performance, boosted quality of care for patients, created partnerships with groups including Crusader Community Health, and started a residency program to recruit and keep doctors in town. “I have been very impressed,” Budd said.

State Sen. Dave Syverson, a Mercyhealth board member, said Bea’s story should inspire youth in Rockford. “It is a good example of what you can do if you stay focused.”

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