US-based health system SoutheastHEALTH has officially joined the Mercy healthcare network after obtaining all required regulatory approvals.

A definitive agreement for SoutheastHEALTH’s integration into Mercy was signed in August last year.

SoutheastHEALTH employees will now be considered Mercy co-workers and several former SoutheastHEALTH facilities have been renamed to reflect the partnership with Mercy.

As part of its community integration process, Mercy is hosting roundtable discussions to understand and address the needs of the community, actively seeking input on the future of healthcare.

These forums will take place in and around Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Mercy plans to invest in south-east Missouri later this year, transitioning all facilities to its electronic health record system, Epic.

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Patient benefits of the Epic system include online appointment scheduling, access to records, communication with physicians, and online bill payment through the MyMercy patient portal and mobile app.

Mercy Southeast CEO Kenneth Bateman will delay his retirement until late this year to support the transition, working alongside Eric Ammons and Ryan Geib from Mercy.

Geib has four years of experience at Mercy and previously served as chief operations officer for the Mercy Fort Smith community.

Bateman said: “It’s important to the entire region that this transition goes smoothly.

“We are committed to continuing to provide outstanding care to our patients and to ensuring our co-workers are in the best position possible to make that happen.” 

Mercy is one of the US’s largest health systems, operating more than 50 hospitals and numerous outpatient facilities across the country. 

It has a workforce of more than 4,500 physicians and advanced practitioners.

Mercy serves millions of patients each year across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, as well as in several other states through clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries.

In September last year, it partnered with Microsoft in an effort to help clinicians use generative AI to improve patient outcomes.