Children’s Mercy Partnership Expands Pediatric Care to Southwest MO

Children's Mercy Kansas City is partnering with Mercy Hospital Springfield to expand its pediatric care to southwest Missouri. Photo credit: Children's Mercy Kansas City

Posted March 20, 2024

Children’s Mercy is entering into a new partnership with Mercy Hospital Springfield and will work to provide enhanced pediatric care to patients in southwest Missouri.

In 2023, Mercy announced a similar partnership with Springfield-based CoxHealth to build a pediatric hospital in the area. Mercy and CoxHealth did not come to an agreed-upon path forward with a partner, according to a release. However, several other hospitals were considered for the partnership and ultimately Mercy chose to proceed with Children’s Mercy.

“We have spent the last year looking at ways to elevate pediatric care across our region,” president of Mercy Southwest Missouri David Argueta said in the release. “Because a significant number of our region’s children have to travel to Kansas City or St. Louis to receive the specialized care they need, we knew we had to find a solution that would allow our kids to get care here at home as often as possible.”

Based on market research, 27 percent of patients leave the region for care, according to the release.

Before deciding to partner with Children’s Mercy, Mercy worked with consumer research firm Monigle to independently survey 300 health care decision-makers in southwest Missouri.

The data showed customers preferred Children’s Mercy Kansas City as the pediatric hospital partner by a 17 percent margin.

“We are excited to collaborate with Mercy to increase pediatric services in the community to ensure families have access to world-class research and innovative care close to home,” president and CEO of Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Paul Kempinski, MS, FACHE said in the release. “By creating a pediatric system of excellence in southwest Missouri, our patients will no longer need to drive several hours for appointments and care, which will help improve access and outcomes for all the children we serve in the area. Fundamentally, this is about providing excellent care to kids in their community.”

Further details on the two hospitals’ collaboration were not present in the release.

CoxHealth was surprised to learn the news Mercy had chosen to end their proposed partnership, according to a separate release by the health care provider. CoxHealth wrote the exit was abrupt and, “are greatly disappointed that Mercy made this announcement with minimal notice to us, and to the community.”

CoxHealth will continue to pursue enhanced pediatric care for its patients in southwest Missouri, the hospital wrote in its release.