Mercy Specialty Center opens, health care expands in Coon Rapids

Since opening in 1965, the health care and treatment, patient services and support offered at Mercy Hospital have continued to grow and evolve. The addition of Mercy Specialty Center widens the embrace health care professionals wrap around the community.

Certified surgical technologists Deb Egnash and Tanya Johnson demonstrate laparoscopic surgical techniques as visitors toured the same day surgery center inside Mercy Specialty Center. Photos by Sue Austreng

Certified surgical technologists Deb Egnash and Tanya Johnson demonstrate laparoscopic surgical techniques as visitors toured the same day surgery center inside Mercy Specialty Center. Photos by Sue Austreng

During a May 3 open house event, Mercy Specialty Center staff and volunteers invited visitors to tour the facility, learn about high-tech medical and safety equipment used there, see the Allina Health Mobile Wellness Center parked outside and walk the 550-foot skyway that connects the specialty center to Mercy Hospital.

With the opening of Mercy Specialty Center in February, patients are now able to access nearly all outpatient medical needs under one roof.

“People are overwhelmingly telling us how great it is to have everything together and so close to where they live,” said Julie Hogie, Mercy’s director of volunteer services, as hundreds of visitors toured the new building during the open house.

The four-story medical office building houses health care providers and clinics offering cancer care, specialty care and outpatient surgical services.

Especially convenient for cancer patients, all outpatient cancer care is consolidated inside the new specialty center building.

“This is hugely successful for us to have multi-level, multi-discipline care and services in one area,” said Cancer Care Administrator Kathy Davis, describing the partnership between Minnesota Oncology and the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute, which are located in adjoining suites on the ground level of the specialty center.

Inside Minnesota Oncology’s sun-drenched infusion room, chairs are equipped to provide massage and warmth, cradling cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Adding to the calming environment, a healing garden is planned just outside that treatment room.

Cancer patients needing radiation therapy can simply go down the hall from Minnesota Oncology to the Mercy Radiation Therapy Clinic, located just around the corner inside Mercy Specialty Center.

“The flow for patients and families is absolutely seamless. They can just park once, see everyone and have all treatments in one place, on one floor … Save their limited energy for home, for family. That’s so important for anyone fighting cancer,” said Jodie Wolla, manager of the radiation therapy clinic.

That clinic will also be the second of only two sites in the country where a cutting edge, state of the art radiation accelerator is used. That specialized piece of equipment will arrive mid-June and be part of services offered in the Mercy Radiation Therapy Clinic when it opens this summer.

In addition to cancer care and treatment, same day surgical services are housed inside Mercy Specialty Center.

There are currently 14 pre- and post-surgery bays and three operating rooms in the Mercy Same Day Surgery Center and there is capacity to add more.

During the open house, visitors were invited to manipulate training tools surgeons use for remote computerized surgery, tour the inside of an operating room, and learn about the state of the art equipment used there.

Not only that, blood pressure and other health screenings were offered and an Allina Health ambulance was parked outside the main entrance.

“This is a big day for us. We are just so excited for people to see this beautiful building, to see how all the health care services are offered right here, and to get an idea of the care we provide,” said Smith.

And Mercy’s expanded health care doesn’t end with the opening of the Mercy Specialty Center.

Smith said construction of a new mother-baby center on the south end of the hospital next to the Mercy Heart Center will begin this summer. That center, offered in conjunction with Children’s Hospitals, is expected to open late summer or early fall of 2015.

“We’re always looking at how we can further serve people here, give them the latest and most efficient health care,” Smith said.

To learn more about Mercy Specialty Center or its parent company, Allina Health, visit or

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]

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