Pastor Jerry Hagans visits the Mercy Health campuses in Muskegon often. At times he comes as a patient. Sometimes he volunteers on the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). At other times he visits his flock.
Hagans particularly appreciates health care provided by a faith-based organization. “It doesn’t matter what faith is involved. The fact that Mercy Health talks about caring for the poor as part of its ministry — and is intentional about it — that’s what matters to me.”
As a senior member of the PFAC, he has “deep gratitude for Mercy Health and for the care I’ve gotten several times. Mercy [Health] has kept me together. I’ve seen the patient side from a lot of different views.”
It’s that level of understanding that makes Hagans’ opinions so valuable to the PFAC.
Ask the Experts
After the consolidation project began on the Mercy Campus in 2016, Mercy Health Regional Marketing Project Manager Kelly M. Kurburski visited a PFAC meeting to consult the members about way finding. Kurburski oversees all internal and external signage for way finding in the new medical center.
“I met with the team to give them an overview of the way finding at the new medical center and asked for their input and feedback,” she said.
Hagans eagerly spoke up at that meeting about two important topics:
“One of the things I was concerned about was the word ‘hospital’. I said that some people don’t understand how a health center is different from a hospital. When people are in trouble, they want to see a sign that says ‘hospital.'”
Hagan’s comment resonated with the group.
“As a result,” said Kurburski, “we modified the color of the word hospital to blue as well as added the universal symbol for ‘hospital’ to the signs.” Universal symbols also take into consideration any language or reading barriers that patients might have.
Another topic of concern for Hagans was the signage for the new emergency department (ED) on the Mercy Campus, once it opens in September. How would patients find their way to the entrance for the new ED?
Hagans weighed in with this advice: The signage needed to be simple and clear — a sign for where ambulances go and a sign where patients go who are not coming by ambulance.
“Patients who are going to the hospital have their minds on other things,” shared Hagans. “Coming in off the road, we just need to tell people where to go, not where not to go.”
Kurburski was grateful for the feedback from the group about moving people from point A to point B. “The input from the PFAC was very helpful as we strive to get patients and visitors to the correct location on campus, whether that’s to the medical center, ambulatory sites or physician practices. Our goal for patients is to make their visit as easy as possible.”
Looking Toward the Future
Hagans is excited about the coming changes to health care in Muskegon with the consolidation of the hospital services and the opening of the new tower on the Mercy Campus.
“Without the new building, the Mercy Campus is outdated, which makes it difficult to provide comfort, healing and confidentiality for patients,” he said. “The new building will be a welcomed change.”
The consolidation project involves phasing over time. Various departments, along with colleagues, on the Mercy and Hackley Campuses will be moving during the transition until the new tower is finished and the renovations on both campuses are completed. Hagans hopes patients will take it all in stride.
“The wait is worth it,” he said. “Staging is necessary because this project is a work in progress in terms of brick and mortar. It also reflects a deep concern for patient care and for providing an environment where our doctors are able to do their best.”
Remaining True to the Mission
Following expert cardiac care he received at Mercy Health, Hagans delivered a sermon to his congregation that was inspired by his medical care. The gist of his message was this:
“Wouldn’t it be great if churches could be as good as Mercy Health’s ICU, where your mission is to care for everyone who is broken?”
In his view, that’s what Mercy Health is best known for, and the consolidation project and new medical center will help the organization continue to deliver on that promise.
Learn more about the Mercy Health Muskegon Consolidation project.