Papal Visit Weekly Update

By Jack Lynch, President and CEO; Phil Robinson, President, Lankenau Medical Center; Barbara Wadsworth, SVP and Chief Nursing Officer; and Robert Feinberg, System Director, Emergency Preparedness

Weekly update banner-2Planning continues throughout Main Line Health to ensure that our patients, staff and facilities are prepared for the impact of 1.5 million additional people to the region during the Friday-Sunday period (September 25-27) while the Pope is in the area.

A summary of new information is below.

Employee Impact

  • Each campus will be sending out messages soon detailing what will be expected for staff and leadership during this period. Because the highest level of impact is expected to be in the areas closest to the Pope’s presence, some MLH facilities will be more affected than others, and each will determine the amount of extra staff that it will need onsite. All MLH hospitals will be required to have some amount of additional staff and leadership presence on site during the Friday-Sunday period.
  • For those sleeping over at the hospitals, information on specific plans for meals, accommodations and downtime activities are being developed and will be communicated as soon as they are finalized.  Lankenau has already obtained permission for staff to use the Friends Central gym during downtime.
  • AT ALL TIMES during the week of the World Meeting of Families and Papal visit, all employees and medical staff should carry their ID badge with them.

Patient Care 

  • Considering the expected traffic congestion, local planners have indicated that every effort will be made to accommodate patients. MLH is developing specific communications for maternity patients and also developing a procedure for all patients to learn the best way to get to the hospital at any given time. These communications will be shared with the appropriate departments for distribution as they become available.


  • Lower Merion officials have announced that they plan to keep Lancaster Avenue open as long as possible. Only if Lancaster Avenue is closed will the access road to Lankenau Medical Center be permitted to open.
  • Lower Merion has also informed us that, during the Friday-Sunday period, no one will likely be able to get to Lankenau Medical Center from the eastern direction due to road closures and traffic volume.  Traffic throughout Delaware County is expected to be extremely congested, such as along West Chester Pike in Upper Darby, due to road closures and volume.
  • Meanwhile, Chester County officials are anticipating congestion as far as US 202 and Business Route US 30.


  • Information Services is developing plans for supporting technology needs on site during the Friday-Sunday period, with the level of support varying by campus. Plans are also underway to stockpile spare parts for the weekend within MLH rather than rely on delivery from the city.
  • Plans are to conduct business as usual at Main Line Health Centers in Lawrence Park, Newtown Square and Exton Square, although there is the possibility of extending Exton’s urgent care hours.
  • MLH will be contacting practices in the MOBs to determine their plans for that weekend.

This week’s update also includes the Pope’s itinerary and additional information from the Lower Merion Township Emergency Management team. To read it, click here.

As you know, details related to the Pope’s visit evolve on a daily basis. We will share as much information with employees as possible, as permitted by Federal and Local law enforcement.

We ask that staff remain flexible, while staying up to date by reading these weekly messages. You can also find updated information and resources on the Prepping for the Pope page under Special Coverage on the intranet homepage.

Thank you for your commitment to ensuring a superior experience for all involved as we prepare for this event of historic proportions.

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