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Mercy Proud. Mercy Loyal. Donor profile of Thomas Reitinger


Mercy Proud.  Mercy Loyal.
Donor profile of Thomas Reitinger

It’s 1993, Tom Reitinger arrives at Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines as the newly appointed President and CEO of the hospital.  He has already had a long and successful career as a leader in a number of health care systems across the United States.  Tom is looking forward to the challenges ahead including the opportunity to work with Mercy’s affiliate organizations and guiding the development of Mercy Health Network, which would lead to integrated operational services for a number of rural Iowa hospitals and clinics.

No stranger to hard work, as he and his two brothers grew up helping his parents operate the family dry-cleaning business in Freeport, Illinois, Tom is ready to roll-up his sleeves and begin work at Mercy. As the first lay CEO of the hospital, he feels privileged to work side-by-side Sister Mary Zita Brennan who welcomes and introduces Tom and his family to the Des Moines community and to Mercy.  He is immediately impressed with the strong work ethic of Mercy employees and the commitment everyone shares in the mission of providing each individual with excellent care.  Tom knows he made a sound decision to join the Mercy family.

A tradition of service

Tom’s next six years at Mercy would be a productive time resulting in a period of significant growth for the hospital, the clinic system, and House of Mercy.   In partnership with the medical staff, the Mercy/Mayo Family Residency Program would begin and the creation of Mercy Health Network would take place resulting in improved health care for thousands of Iowans.

Perhaps one of Tom’s most fulfilling achievements would be the two-and-one-half-year accreditation process by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (currently knows as the Higher Learning Commission), resulting in the establishment of Mercy College of Health Sciences–the only regional health sciences college with a direct tie to a medical center creating significant learning opportunities for the next generation of health care providers.

Mercy ties remain

Fast forward to today where, after a fulfilling 45-year health care leadership career serving 13 organizations in both interim and permanent capacities, Tom can be found enjoying life in Frisco, Texas. He relishes spending time with his brothers who live nearby, visiting his sons and grandchildren, golfing and staying abreast on current events.   But he has not forgotten his strong ties to Mercy.

“Of the many places I have lived and worked, the majority of my philanthropic giving is directed to Mercy and the Des Moines area,” shared Tom.  “I will always be impressed with Mercy’s dedication to their mission and values.  As president of Mercy, I witnessed first-hand the excellence in care as well as the privilege of serving all who are in need. I know that same tradition continues today.”   Today, Tom continues his service to Mercy through his appointment on the Mercy College of Health Sciences Board of Directors.

Giving Back

In 2011, Tom made the generous decision to establish the Thomas A. Reitinger Endowed Scholarship Fund benefiting nursing students attending Mercy College of Health Sciences with first priority going to single parent students demonstrating financial need and second priority to students of the Catholic faith.  The first scholarship from this fund is expected to be awarded in late 2016.

“I saw first-hand, through my connection with the Health Careers Foundation, the power of supporting single parents in their educational pursuits.  I wanted to make sure these same opportunities were also available to Mercy College students on a long-term basis,” shared Tom.  “Not only is this helping individuals get an excellent education, it is ensuring a quality supply of health care providers for our communities.”

Tom made contributions to the scholarship fund through gifts of stock and the now permanent IRA Rollover provision.  The IRA provision enables those 70.5 years of age and older to make gifts (up to $100,000) directly from their IRA to a charity without incurring a tax liability while still meeting the annual required minimum distribution (RMD).

“This whole process has been quite easy from setting up the endowment to making contributions through my IRA,” said Tom. “I worked with the Foundation staff to draw up the scholarship agreement and then simply contacted my retirement plan administrator who coordinated the gift with Mercy Foundation.  I am confident the resources I have contributed will be spent responsibly and with care.  I am pleased this scholarship fund will help launch the careers of new health care providers as they begin their service to others. I am grateful to be a small piece in helping them achieve success.”

If you would like to learn more about the IRA rollover provision, please visit


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