Editor’s note: Read more about Evansville’s health in the full feature story.
Two massive health care providers in Evansville serve a large Tri-State footprint, employ thousands of professionals, offer multiple areas of recognized specialty treatment, contribute to countless local causes, and engage in competition which raises the bar for both companies.
Evansville Business reached out to the leaders of Ascension St. Vincent and Deaconess Health System to ask about their philosophy of care, recent achievements, and goals for the future.
Deaconess Health System
Evansville-based Deaconess points to a list of successes across many disciplines. CEO Shawn McCoy notes partnerships with Riley Hospital for Children on pediatric care services, a pediatric urgent care center, the area’s only pediatric infectious disease physician, and growth in pediatric gastroenterology.
McCoy says the Tri-State Perinatology at The Women’s Hospital draws patients from a wide radius, and Deaconess boasts the area’s only freestanding women’s hospital. Deaconess offers plastic surgery services for trauma patients, and the health system is performing a unique shunt procedure to help those with chronic liver disease.
He notes Deaconess’ history in oncology and its many accomplishments across that field. Deaconess’ mental health treatment portfolio includes the region’s only standalone inpatient facility serving adolescents and adults.
McCoy also points to the company’s recent investments at its Henderson, Kentucky, hospital, as well as its expansion of services in Southern Illinois.
At Deaconess Henderson Hospital, new additions include two cardiologists, pain management providers, rheumatology providers, orthopedic surgeons, and gastroenterology specialists, plus a CT machine, a state-of-the-art robot in surgery, a nuclear medicine camera, and a urology laser. More surgical beds are to arrive in February 2024. McCoy says Deaconess’ expansions in Illinois, meanwhile, come from “relationships we’ve developed with hospitals there throughout the years. In the past several years, many of those hospitals had reduced the services provided locally causing patients to seek care at our Evansville-area facilities.” Investing in Illinois facilities reduces patients’ need to travel to Southwest Indiana, McCoy says.
“Our strategy for the future is based on ensuring we are working toward our mission — to advance the health and wellbeing of our community with a compassionate and caring spirit. We’ll continue to work to keep quality care close to home,” McCoy says.
Ascension St. Vincent Health System
St. Vincent Hospital had its roots planted in Evansville long before Ascension came to town.
Founded in 1872 by the Daughters of Charity as a Marine hospital, the health system grew with two larger campuses — one involving a major one-day campaign moving operations across town — and new facilities in surrounding counties. All Daughters of Charity hospitals became part of Saint Louis, Missouri-based Ascension when it was founded in 1999. In 2017, the Evansville campus adopted the St. Vincent name to better align with the other hospitals in the network. Its name changed again in 2018 to Ascension St. Vincent.
Alex Chang, who took over as president of Ascension St. Vincent South Region in 2022, says the company seeks to go over and beyond providing basic health services and take a holistic approach to care.
“There are great resources in the community, but we have holistic mental and spiritual health resources that also benefit the community,” he says. “Our mission is clear as well as our values.”
Chang notes Ascension’s network in Indiana, which includes the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, and beyond the state’s borders. It’s one of the largest health care systems in the nation, which Chang says helps weather economic challenges in the industry.
Ascension accepts a large number of indigent patients — “we can take care of everybody,” Chang says.
In addition to its focus on pediatrics, Chang says he counts orthopedics, oncology, neuroscience, and the company’s neurostroke program, cardiology, and cardiovascular treatment as Ascension’s local specialties.
In terms of future priorities, Ascension plans expansions of its Epworth Road campus and Henderson, Kentucky, facility within three years, Chang says.
Renovations to Ascension’s labor and delivery and women’s services at its main campus on Washington Avenue are expected to be completed within six months.
“We need to have a health care environment that is modern and updated to be able to meet the needs of our patients,” Chang says. “It’s important to keep that in mind.”