After a year of construction, Mercy Kids Mid Rivers has opened in Cottleville.
Dr. Howard Schlansky, medical director of pediatrics for Mercy Clinic, said part of the pre-construction process for the Mid Rivers facility included working with the president of Mercy Kids and holding conversations with the St. Charles community to figure out what exactly was needed at the new facility.
“We came up with a list of things that citizens of St. Charles County wanted, we agreed with everything on the list, and we are bringing out as much as we can,” Schlansky said.
Schlansky said one of the things residents asked for was easy access to specialized services on the St. Charles side of the river.
The facility’s primary pediatric care will be provided at Mercy’s Pediatrics Clinic, which will move its office into the Mid Rivers facility.
In addition to physician practices, the Mid Rivers facility will be able to provide ambulatory services starting in early December, including pediatric gastroenterologists and neurologists. In 2015, sports medicine services and dermatology services will be added. The facility also will feature a convenient care center, which will serve patients up to 21 years of age.
Schlansky said the plan is to have a working relationship with St. Charles Community College to provide medical services for students age 21 and younger.
In another potential community partnership, Mercy also is working with Unlimited Play and the appropriate agencies in St. Charles County to get one of the organization’s accessible playgrounds built next to the Mid Rivers facility, which Schlansky said Mercy will donate to the city of Cottleville once completed.
The location also will make a major commitment to behavioral health, according to John Mantovani, chair of the department of pediatrics at Mercy’s Children Hospital. In addition to physical medicine specialties, the Mid Rivers facility will have autism-related programs and a therapy and developmental center.
“I think we all feel that’s a huge need,” Mantovani said. “At whatever level you look at those who work with children, whether it’s in the educational side in schools, or whether it’s community-based providers in service industries for children … one of the crying needs nationally, and certainly in our region, is better access to services from people who are specialized in behavioral, mental health care for children across the entire age range.”
Mantovani said convenience is the name of the game for the Mid Rivers facility, both with the location and with the number of available specialists.
About a quarter of the families who regularly use the Mercy Therapy and Development Center, located in Creve Coeur, come from the Tri-County region, Mantovani said, adding that many of these families come on a weekly basis for treatments lasting several hours.
“Particularly for repeated visits for things like ongoing therapy needs, sports medicine activities, primary care activities and then continuing care for children with specialty needs in the medical areas, it really is going to save people a lot of effort that is presently expended just getting here,” Mantovani said.