Published on January 09, 2017

Mercy Philadelphia Receives FOCUS Award from Gilead Sciences

PHILADELPHIA, PA (January 9, 2017): Mercy Philadelphia has received the Gilead Sciences Frontlines of Communities in the United States (FOCUS) award to develop a replicable model program to provide comprehensive screening and linkage care for patients based on best practices in HIV and hepatitis.

“We are pleased to receive this grant from Gilead Sciences which will allow our people-centered program of care to address HIV and hepatitis in our communities,” said Sue Cusack, MSN, BSN, RN, PhD, executive director of Mercy Philadelphia. “This program is just one of many ways we provide safe, high-quality care to our patients to improve the health of our communities and each person we serve.”


The partnership will help establish a program for HIV testing of all individuals in the ER setting at Mercy Philadelphia, which will later be implemented at Mercy Fitzgerald given the success of the initial pilot. Patients will be offered free, confidential HIV testing and those who test positive will be linked to care by a member of the hospital's program.

The ER staff will be educated about best practices in HIV care on a routine basis and data regarding the HIV screening will be reviewed regularly. This program is a multidisciplinary joint effort within the hospitals, involving the Infectious Diseases, Emergency Medicine and Infection Control departments.

“Experts believe that routine screening is essential to slowing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States,” said Gul Madison, MD, an infectious disease physician at Mercy Philadelphia. “Instituting this program will allow us to better treat the members of our community who are suffering from HIV and/or hepatitis.”

The partnership will also help improve the inpatient hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening program which Mercy Philadelphia started in the beginning of November. As per CDC recommendations, all baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened for HCV. With the partnership, the hospital plans to increase the number of patients screened, improve communication with the ordering physicians and help link newly diagnosed patients to care.