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December 21, 2015

Hospitals spend $6 million on Pope Francis' visit

Delaware Valley Healthcare Council surveyed 32 hospitals in the region

Health Papal Visit
08072015_HahnemannHospital_Thom Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Hospitals spent a combined $6 million to prepare for Pope Francis' visit in September, according to a poll from the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, and over 90 percent of those costs came from increased staff levels and employees sleeping in the hospitals. 

Yet many health centers saw fewer patients than normal. As Philly.com reportedPennsylvania Hospital, part of the UPenn health system, had only 30 visitors from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday.

"Eight health systems and nine hospitals, together accounting for a total of 32 hospital facilities in Philadelphia and nearby suburbs, reported spending about $6 million on increased staffing levels, accommodations to sleep staff over, and other resources and services needed to be prepared to care for patients and visitors during the Papal Visit," said the DVHC in a statement. 

Those hospitals will not be reimbursed. Still, officials did not complain.

"It was expensive, but it was a positive experience," said Penn Medicine's Chief Medical Officer, P.J. Brennan, to Philly.com. He said that the hospitals were providing a necessary service, and learned important lessons about emergency planning.

Here's what local hospitals and health systems told The Inquirer that they spent:

•Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: $1 million

•Main Line Health: $1.5 million

•University of Pennsylvania Health System: $1.5 million

•Temple University Hospital: $520,000 (including lost revenue from patients who avoided the area during the Pope's visit)

•Jefferson: $500,000

•Hahnemann: $200,000

The city itself also spent a considerable sum for security and other Papal Visit-related expenses. The final bill came to $8 million, after reimbursements from the World Meeting of Families. 

Read the full story here.

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