PennMed and Pennsylvania Hospital:
Coming Together After 250 Years

Two of Benjamin Franklin's best ideas will come together within the next few months as the Pennsylvania Hospital, a freestanding hospital for 250 years, becomes affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Pennsylvania Hospital will continue under its own name and identity, retaining its governing board and establishing a foundation for Pennsylvania Hospital endowment. It will operate under a management contract with UPHS which will allow for "appropriate consolidation of clinical and administrative functions, dependent on a plan to be developed over the next few months," according to a joint statement released November 12.

A letter of intent was to be signed this week, with formal agreement expected to follow in four months.

The Board of Managers of Pennsylvania Hospital--reportedly courted by Thomas Jefferson University for some time--"closely studied the options and spent time carefully weighing the impact of a decision of this magnitude," said Dr. John R. Ball, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Hospital. "We believe this affiliation will make both partners even stronger." In addition to adding a Center City and South Philadelphia presence to Penn's growing health services base, the affiliation will reinforce a number of specialties--among them obstetrics (Pennsylvania Hospital physicians deliver more babies than at any other hospital in eastern Pennsylvania) and orthopedics (Pennsylvania Hospital's surgeons perform more total joint replacement than at any hospital in the United States).

"The University of Pennsylvania has already begun to build a strong regional heath system," continued Dr. Ball, "and with the collaboration of Pennsylvania Hospital will offer an unsurpassed array of health care services to the people of the Philadelphia region."

Penn's Dr. William N. Kelley, Dean of Medicine and CEO of the Health System applauded the decision of Pennsylvania Hospital's Board: "Their forward-looking action not only restores an important historical association that began nearly 250 years ago, but assures that our respective institutions --together--will be able to build an integrated network for providing unparalleled patient care and medical training into the 21st Century."

Pennsylvania Hospital, based at 8th and Spruce Streets in Society Hill, is the nation's oldest hospital, founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond. At the Hospital's founding, already established nearby was the school that was to evolve into the University of Pennsylvania and to become America's first university upon the establishment of its medical school when Dr. John Morgan was appointed to the faculty 1765.

In 1766, Dr. Bond formalized clinical instruction with Pennsylvania Hospital serving as a site for lectures and training of Penn medical students. Resident physicians committed between four and five years to Pennsylvania Hospital as apprentices while they worked toward medical degrees from The Medical School of the College of Philadelphia (as Penn was then known). The two have had various forms of affiliation--sometimes formal, sometimes informal--ever since.

UPHS now comprises the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center; Presbyterian Medical Center and six hospitals that are contractual affiliates [see printed version of Almanac for map]); the network of providers known as Clinical Care Associates; multispecialty satellites at Radnor; a management services organization; and a managed care organization.


Volume 43 Number 13
November 19/26, 1996

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