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Credit: Madison Valerio

Penn Medicine will continue to expand its outreach by developing joint clinical care programs to improve health care in Philadelphia with the Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania and St. Mary Medical Center, according to a news release.

The initiative will focus on the creation of clinical care programs in the greater Philadelphia region, including Bucks County and surrounding areas. The institutions also aim to “explore similar clinical programs” in West Philadelphia in hopes of improving access to health care for patients with “high-risk, high-cost health conditions.” The partnership is a recent development in light of several expansions for Penn Med in the past several years.

In 2013, Chester County Hospital joined Penn Med and in 2015, Lancaster General Health joined as well. In January, Penn Med officially merged with Princeton HealthCare System after announcing the deal in 2016. The recent acquisitions of smaller hospitals is an effort to expand health systems and provide more specialized and efficient care, according to Penn experts.

Penn Med will also facilitate access to health care services for Mercy Health and St. Mary patients. The recent alliance, however, is only a partnership and not a merger, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal

“We are excited to work with these new partners to develop innovative public health programs and initiatives that will offer patients continued access to high-quality care close to home, as well as advanced care at Penn Medicine hospitals when needed,” Ralph W. Muller, chief executive of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, said in a news release.

Mercy Health is comprised of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Delaware County, Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia, and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital in West Philadelphia, which is approximately two miles away from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

St. Mary Medical Center, located in Langhorne, PA, has experts in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, and emergency and trauma services. Both Mercy and St. Mary are members of Trinity Health, one of the nation’s largest Catholic health care systems.

“We are confident this new strategic alliance – bringing together Mercy Health System’s deep ties to our communities and Penn Medicine’s academic medicine expertise – will allow us to further our mission of serving as a compassionate and transforming healing presence,” Mercy Health System President and CEO Susan Croushore said in a news release.