Mercy Aquatics Center to close March 1
Mercy Medical Center has made the difficult, but necessary, decision to close the Mercy Aquatics Center, effective March 1. The Aquatics Center is located in the Physicians' Clinic of Iowa (PCI) building at 600 7th St. SE. It contains two heated pools and offers water-based physical therapy services, group fitness classes and children's swimming classes. There are 121 members.
Mercy took over operation of the pool after PCI and Physiotherapy Associates closed it in December 2007. Despite pool upgrades and Mercy's efforts to add new programs and increase membership, the Center was unsustainable due to significant operation cost increases and continued low participation. Heating costs have increased substantially since the June 2008 flood. Capital improvements would also be necessary if the Center remained open.
The decision to close the Aquatics Center came after an extensive program review, known as Mission Discernment, which involves analysis of Mercy programs based on quality improvement, operational efficiencies, strategic direction, patron satisfaction, financial performance and fulfillment of the hospital's mission.
Mercy leadership said the decision was a difficult one to make but is in keeping with the hospital's strong stewardship and program review process. They say the uncertainties surrounding healthcare reform and potential changes in medical reimbursements require them to make thoughtful and prudent decisions.
Pool patrons with memberships will be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis or offered the option to transfer their membership to the Mercy Fitness Center. They are also receiving letters directing them to alternative programming options in the community.
The three Mercy employees that staffed the pool have been offered other positions at Mercy.