City, CHOP team up for new facility in South Philly

    The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the city are joining to build a unique health-care facility in South Philly.

    The Children’s Hospital is outgrowing its current pediatric primary-care facility in South Philadelphia, and the city’s nearby Health Center 2 is in need of costly repairs.

    A proposed new building — financed by CHOP and located on city land — will house both practices, offering treatment for children and adults.

    City Health Commissioner Don Schwarz said many families already are served by the two clinics. Having both in the same building will allow for coordinated care for whole families.

    “If an adult in the family smokes, (it) makes a difference to a child’s health,” Schwarz said. “If the two sets of practices can coordinate the message, smoking-cessation work for the parent can be ordered by the parent’s provider, which helps the child’s asthma.”

    The two practices may also share waiting room space and laboratory and diagnostic equipment.

    Dr. Paul Hattis, professor of public health at Tufts University Medical School, said similar partnerships are likely as payment policies in the health-care law that reward coordinated care kick in.

    “As we’re moving more toward the concept of accountable-care organizations, children’s hospitals will want to collaborate with the adult side, and figure out how they might do caring for whole populations of children and adults together,” Hattis said.

    CHOP spokesman George Bochanski said the expansion of its South Philly practice is part of a larger effort to boost primary care in Philadelphia, surrounding counties and South Jersey. There are now 30 primary-care clinics in the area.

    “It’s part of the future,” Bochanski said. “Delivering some of the care close in the neighborhood where it’s more likely that families can visit on a regular basis and reserving the hospital for the sickest of the sick.”

    The deal will save the city trouble and the expense of repairing or replacing its aging health center. Replacement would have cost more than $10 million, according to Schwarz. Bochanski said the hospital wants to rehab the library and recreation facility on the same block of South Broad Street if funding is available.

    The city hopes to open the new building in three years.

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