US-based healthcare system Mercy has begun the construction of the Mercy Kids Therapy and Development Center, a facility to serve children with neurodevelopmental issues in St Louis, Missouri.

A ‘wall-breaking’ event was organised on 26 June to mark the start of construction at the site, which is located at 1415 Elbridge Payne in Chesterfield.

Due to open next year, the centre is being built by repurposing a current Mercy facility, enlarging the space from 12,000ft² to 43,000ft².

Once it is complete, Mercy plans to double the capacity of its current evaluation and treatment programmes, develop a comprehensive learning and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) programme and expand its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) follow-up programme.

These enhancements aim to address the growing demand for specialised paediatric care.

Mercy Health Foundation St Louis is currently nearing its fundraising goal of $16.1m for the project.

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Efforts to secure the remaining funds are being supported by a challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation.

Mercy Kids Therapy and Development Center paediatric neurologist and medical director Dr John Mantovani said: “Mercy Kids is the largest provider of autism and other neurodevelopmental services in the region, yet waitlists for services are long and many children in need are unable to access services.

“The new space will enable us to serve more families and expand services, including applied behavioural analysis (ABA) therapy.

“Patient visits have shown a steady upward trend with just over 9,000 visits in 2011 to more than 30,000 in 2023.

“We look forward to being able to care for even more families when the new space opening next summer.”

Mercy is one of the US’ 20 largest health systems and operates more than 900 physician practice locations and outpatient facilities.

Earlier this year, the group announced plans to build a 75-bed ‘next-generation’ hospital in Wentzville, Missouri.