Mercy Health Receives Blue Star Recognition

Mercy Health, a Catholic health ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky, announces that it has received Blue Star Recognition from the American Cancer Society and Ohio Partners for Cancer Control. This recognition acknowledges that Mercy Health is a hospital system that has taken extraordinary measures to advance initiatives supporting the goal to screen 80% of adults 50 and over for colorectal cancer by 2018. 

Mercy Health received the recognition after launching a colorectal cancer task force in 2016 that worked on a wide array of initiatives to ensure more patients had their recommended screening. These initiatives included patient reminder calls and messages, patient and physician education pieces that emphasize the different types of screenings available and social media campaigns that drew strong community engagement.

Over the course of 2016, 3,900 patients in Ohio and Kentucky scheduled their colonoscopies or screening blood tests as a result and 64.8% of all eligible patients had their recommended screening, an increase of 2.5% on the previous year. In Lima, nearly 65% of eligible patients had their screening.

 “While we saw a strong uptick in patients having their colorectal cancer screenings, we still have work to do. We are continuing our colorectal cancer screening campaign to hit our goal to screen 80% of adults 50 and over for colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Anton Decker, Chief Clinical Officer and President, Mercy Health Physicians. “Our results thus far and the Blue Star recognition from Ohio Partners for Cancer Control and American Cancer Society tells we are on the right track to ensure that our patients are aware of and benefitting from the early detection screening provides. Screening really does save lives and there are different screening options available, such as an in-home screening, in addition to a colonoscopy.”

 Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Doctors diagnose more than 135,000 adults with colorectal cancer each year. Colorectal cancer is also the most preventable form of cancer. Screenings allow for the detection of cancer at the early stages when treatment is most likely to be successful, and, in some cases, can be prevented through the detection and removal of precancerous polyps.                                                                                         

About one in three adults between 50 and 75 years old – about 23 million people – do not have the recommended screening. Achieving an 80% screening rate by 2018 would prevent 277,000 colorectal cancer cases and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths by 2030.

 St. Rita’s Health Partners also fights back against cancer by sponsoring Relay for Life events in the region. In a movement called 80% by 2018, more than 600 organizations united in an effort to increase screening rates among adults age 50. St. Rita’s Health Partners have pledged their support in this movement and plan to advance the colon cancer screening goals and missions through Relay for Life events in Lima, Bluffton, Delphos, and Mercer and Putnam counties.

 About St. Rita’s Health Partners

Since 1918, St. Rita’s Health Partners has been providing quality healthcare to the people of Lima and west central Ohio. More people prefer St. Rita's for medical care than any other hospital in the 10-county region we serve. Our comprehensive high-quality medical services include The Henry & Beverly Hawk Vascular & Heart Center at St. Rita's, St. Rita's Orthopaedic Care Center, trauma and emergency, cancer treatment, women's health, mother/baby, pediatrics, sports medicine and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, homecare and hospice.

As a member of Mercy Health, the largest health system in Ohio and one of the largest health systems in the United States, it is our Mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus by improving the health of our communities. In 2014, St. Rita’s Health Partners invested $42 million in community benefit into the communities where we provide care, most of it targeted to people who are poor and under-served. Together with more than 3,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, we are fulfilling our promise, providing area residents with outstanding health and wellness services and improving the health of the communities we serve. Please visit for more information or connect with St. Rita’s Medical Center on Facebook.