What does a physician's liaison do? Longtime employee tackles new task at St. E's

Linda Mehochko is at a new job, but that is the extent of her new position. As the new marketing department physician liaison at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville, she moves to a new post within a hospital where she has worked for three decades. She recently talked to business reporter Will Buss about her new job:

Q: Why did you pursue this new position?

A: "I have been with St. Elizabeth's for 30 years and have worked in many different areas of the hospital. In that time, I have come to know not only the hospital and the physicians I work with, but the community. I was born and raised in East St. Louis and have been a part of this community for most my of life, and an opportunity had come about for me to expand my role. They wanted someone who has a clinical background that can meet those needs of the physicians and help them in their practice when they are taking care of patients in the community, and all of Southern Illinois for that matter."

Q: What does your new job entail?

A: "To foster existing relationships between physicians and staff and the hospital, as well as other Southern Illinois-area hospitals, and to foster existing relationships and build new relationships with those areas."

Q: Where did your career at the hospital begin?

A: "I actually started here. If you want to know the real nitty-gritty, I started at age 14 as a Red Cross youth volunteer. I come from a family where my father and grandfather and brother were dentists, and another brother is a physician. My family was in the medical field, and helping people and caring for those people has been in my blood since before I was born."

Q: What significant advancements have you witnessed in your time at the hospital?

A: "I think from when I first started working as a staff nurse until now, the biggest thing is the cardiac program. I was actually the first nurse in the cardiac lab when it first opened in '85, in that general time, and to see the advancement in laparoscopic surgery and the standardization of care to enable patients to come in and be treated efficiently and be discharged in a timely fashion."

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your tenure at St. Elizabeth's?

A: "I am very committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital, which is evident by my length of time here, and particularly the Catholic faith-based family is important to me, personally, and I think it is the right place to be for me. And I am impressed by what St. Elizabeth's is able to do for the community and the relationships we have. We are proud to be a part of a community that is a provider of health care for Southern Illinois and the medical community."