In the late 1980’s, Iowa residents were confronted with data showing a high rate of infant mortality in Des Moines and Polk County. Many causes were cited: substance abuse; physical abuse; homelessness; lack of prenatal care; lack of insurance; and, all too often, simply a lack of hope. In response to this situation, House of Mercy was incorporated in June of 1988. It is an Iowa Nonprofit Corporation. It is a subsidiary corporation of Catholic Health Initiatives – Iowa, Corp. d/b/a Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines which is the Corporation’s sole member. As a subsidiary of Catholic Health Initiative – Iowa, Corp., House of Mercy is governed by their Board of Directors. The House of Mercy Director has full administrative responsibility for carrying out House of Mercy’s policies, procedures, and programs as established by Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines and reports to the Chief Mission Officer. The Chief Mission Officer is the senior Mercy staff person responsible for the administrative oversight of House of Mercy operations. House of Mercy management staff support the Director in the provision of a high quality continuum of services, both on-site and in the community, through collaborations with local health and human services providers. To facilitate the management and conduct of the Corporation’s activities and affairs related to the raising of community awareness and philanthropic donations, House of Mercy has an “advisory board” which works closely with the facility’s Director around resource and community consciousness raising activities.  House of Mercy was modeled after the first “House of Mercy” which was started in Dublin, Ireland by Sister Catherine McCauley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. 

House of Mercy’s initial focus was on assisting pregnant, parenting, and non-parenting women in developing personal responsibility and independence through counseling, education, and primary medical care in collaboration with other providers. Over the years, as the persons served have presented with additional unmet critical life needs, House of Mercy’s emphasis has evolved and expanded into a mission-based, excellence driven, consumer-focused, learning organization committed to providing members of the community with needed housing, health, wellness, and human services.  We are dedicated to being a preeminent provider of these vital services to all in need in our community (regardless of gender and parenting status).

House of Mercy is included in the Official Catholic Directory as a tax-exempt entity. Services are provided to the community on a non-discriminatory basis and governed by a board in which independent persons, representative of the community, comprise the majority. House of Mercy receives funding from government-sponsored health care programs like Medicaid.

For information about House of Mercy please contact:

Rebecca Peterson, Director, (515) 643-6588 or rpeterson@mercydesmoines.org