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Mercy Philadelphia Hospital was planning on shutting down.

Losing Mercy, a safety-net hospital serving a predominantly low-income and Black community, would have created a health care desert in West Philadelphia. “It would have been easy for us to just absorb it into our existing hospital beds,” said Kevin Mahoney, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “But we thought it was wrong that patients in a poor part of town would have to travel two bus routes, 20 city blocks.”


So, Penn Medicine and other nonprofits joined forces to revive the hospital, operating it at a financial loss to ensure this underserved community had access. Instead of being a separate center, the site went under the license of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the top 20 hospitals in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. “During the meeting with my team, someone asked, ‘Will this have an impact on our rankings?’” Mahoney recounted. “Shouldn’t we be focusing on doing what’s right for our community, not what’s right to maximize rankings?”

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