Mercy Announces Plans to Bring Children’s Mercy Kansas City to Springfield

March 19, 2024

After years of searching for a sustainable way to enhance pediatric care in southwest Missouri, Mercy is excited to announce plans to bring Children’s Mercy Kansas City to town.

“We have spent the last year looking at ways to elevate pediatric care across our region,” said David Argueta, president of Mercy Southwest Missouri. “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.” According to market share data, 27% of patients leave the region for care.

Adele Hall 2021 Children's Mercy Kansas City ranked the No. 1 children’s hospital in Missouri by U.S. News & World Report.

The plan to welcome Children’s Mercy Kansas City to the Mercy Hospital campus comes after Mercy and CoxHealth announced in 2023 that they were teaming up with the intent of bringing a pediatric hospital to the area to provide enhanced pediatric care. After a request for proposal period, several hospitals were in the running, including Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Unfortunately, Mercy and CoxHealth did not come to an agreed-upon path forward with a partner.

“We knew there weren’t many examples of what we were aiming to accomplish across the country and that there was a chance we wouldn’t reach an agreement,” Argueta said. “But we also know we need to enhance pediatric care in our region and make it locally available, so working alongside CoxHealth to evaluate options was the right place to start. I’m incredibly proud of our two teams for working together and making this issue a priority for our community, and while I’m disappointed we didn’t come to an agreement, I am pleased that we have agreed to collaborate with Children’s Mercy Kansas City to create an exceptional solution for the region that meets our primary objective, which is to provide care to our kids close to home.”

As part of the evaluation process, Mercy’s leadership team visited several health care organizations during the past year, including Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

“From the first moment we set foot in their facility in Kansas City, it was clear that everything they do is about kids,” said Marie Moore, chief nursing officer at Mercy Springfield Communities. “As an independent hospital, Children’s Mercy Kansas City’s sole focus is pediatric care. From the way they design their facilities, their commitment to world-class translational research, the way they engage families as true partners in the child’s care, the amenities they offer, everything is done first with kids’ needs in mind. They are set to bring that level of care to Springfield, and we are excited to welcome them, especially since so many in our community already utilize Children’s Mercy Kansas City.”

To best gauge the community's preference for a world-class pediatric care provider, Mercy asked Monigle, a nationally recognized brand and consumer research firm, to independently survey 300 health care decision-makers in southwest Missouri.

Consumers expressed a clear and statistically significant preference for Children’s Mercy Kansas City as the pediatric hospital partner by a 17% margin compared to other pediatric hospitals in the region. The data also showed that Children’s Mercy Kansas City had the highest awareness among pediatric hospitals surveyed, and 17% of the children in the area have received care from Children’s Mercy Kansas City in contrast to 8% who have used St. Louis Children’s and 2% who have used SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, both in St. Louis. The independent data made clear that parents and health care consumers in this region want Children’s Mercy Kansas City to be their kids care provider.

“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,” said Paul Kempinski, MS, FACHE, president and CEO, Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “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.”


Mercy doctor's coat Mercy is welcoming Children's Mercy Kansas City to Springfield to provide enhanced pediatric care.

Children’s Mercy Kansas City is one of only 30 centers in the nation to be verified as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center. In addition, it is also a Level 1 pediatric trauma center and has the busiest critical care transport department in the country with 6,000 transports per year. When it comes to national awards, Children’s Mercy Kansas City is continuously ranked as one of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals and ranked the No. 1 children’s hospital in Missouri by

U.S. News & World Report. Children's Mercy Kansas City earned its fifth consecutive Magnet award, making it the only hospital in Missouri to earn five Magnet designations. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program is nursing’s highest honor, recognizing health care organizations that provide the best possible quality in nursing care.

Children’s Mercy’s Research Institute is a world leader in pediatric genomics, personalized medicine, and other areas of emphasis that will bring advancements in care directly to the children of Springfield.

“When we evaluated all of the providers that took part in the request for proposal, we were most impressed by Children’s Mercy Kansas City,” Moore said. “They have a long history of engaging with the community in shared decision-making, which we think makes them uniquely equipped to come to our community and provide care for our kids. They don’t simply set up shop and open their doors. They collaborate with the community, and that’s what we and parents across the region want for our kids.”