HealthSpan & Mercy Health: Creating a Healthier Community


Ohio’s largest healthcare system, Mercy Health, will transition approximately 13,000 employees and their dependents to HealthSpan’s self-funded health benefits management starting January.

Employees from Toledo and Lorain will be offered customized benefits created in partnership by Mercy Health and HealthSpan (formerly Kaiser Permanente).

The plan is designed to keep small health problems from becoming bigger. It will save money and also improve lives.

“Like many organizations, more than half of our health care spending goes toward treating 5 percent of our employees,” said Edwin Oley, President and CEO, Mercy – Lorain.

“The focus on overall health and well-being leads to a healthier team and decreased costs for our employees.”

A Wellness Model

A wellness model is central to HealthSpan’s approach to care.

Patricia Horvath, HealthSpan Vice President of Sales and Business Development

Patricia Horvath, HealthSpan Vice President of Sales and Business Development

Patricia Horvath, HealthSpan Vice President of Sales and Business Development, says early intervention and preventive care means better community health and improved economics for health care.

“Little problems need to be managed before they become big ones,” she said.

Proactive wellness care will reduce the impact of chronic ailments like heart conditions, obesity, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes and more.

Simply, it is better to control blood pressure rather to experience a heart attack or stroke as the first symptom. It is better to have a mammogram than it is to face undiagnosed breast cancer. It is better to have a mole examined before it becomes skin cancer.

“We put a lot of our resources, time and energy into managing folks who are healthy by identifying risks early so bigger conditions don’t develop,” said Horvath. “This focus is intended to keep work forces very healthy.”

The result will be higher quality care at a more affordable cost.



An Electronic Medical Record, MyChart, is at the heart of the HealthSpan strategy.

“MyChart creates a unique position, unlike any other health system, to find chronic conditions and address underlying conditions,” said Horvath. “We are able to make real time health care decisions and close gaps like finding the right treatment center for a patient.”

This care coordination program is an essential part of the plan to help members be well.

“We offer an integrated care model functioning off the physician’s records,” explained Horvath. “There are care coordinators in the offices who are responsible for facilitating patient success with access to education, physical therapy, or follow-up to make sure prescriptions have been filled.”

Patients in care coordination programs experience 27 percent fewer emergency room visits, 24 percent fewer admissions, shorter hospitalization stays, and lower rates of readmission.


“Be Well Within”

HealthSpan offers a customized “Be Well Within” wellness program that enables users to share information about their blood pressure, weight, diets, exercise, and other factors with their physicians using MyChart.

“Our ‘Be Well Within’ program connects all that data to medical records,” said Horvath. “If you are insured with a national carrier, it stays with the carrier and doesn’t convert to the wellness team that can help you get better. This addresses how employers are going to make employees better. It becomes physician-led wellness that also includes spouses.”


Leadership Summit

Employers wanting to learn more about HealthSpan are invited to a Business Leadership Summit on a date TBD at Lorain County Community College.

The program, Changing the Healthcare Paradigm – How Three Health Systems United to Bring Higher Quality, More Affordable Care to Lorain, will be held at Lorain County Community College Spitzer Center.  Contact: Nate Kaplan (216) 479-5313,

NOTE: The leadership summit has been moved from Oct. 14 to a date TBD. We will update when the new date is announced.


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