Hahnemann Ordered By Pennsylvania to Stay Open Until 90-Day Closure Plan Is Released - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Hahnemann Ordered By Pennsylvania to Stay Open Until 90-Day Closure Plan Is Released

A letter from the Pennsylvania Health secretary demanded the hospital not close until it file proper paperwork to the state and city.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    State Orders Hahnemann Hospital to Stay Open

    The Pennsylvania Department of Health is ordering Hahnemann University Hospital to stay open after the owner announced the facility would close on Sept. 6.

    (Published Friday, June 28, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Hahnemann handles 56,000 emergency visits each year, in addition to thousands of other patients at its Center City location.

    • More than 800 nurses and other staff work at the hospital. Many of them rallied Thursday in front of City Hall.

    • If the hospital does eventually close, a city spokeswoman said city medics will adjust their emergency room dropoffs as needed.

    Hahnemann Hospital was ordered Thursday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to stay open until the medical facility submits written notice of its intent to close.

    The "cease-and-desist" order could possibly force the hospital to continue full operations for at least the next 90 days, which is the minimum amount of time allowed under state and city regulations to submit an application to shut down.

    "A hospital is required to give 90 days written notice to the department of its intent to close," the state Health Department said in a statement. "And as part of that notification, [the hospital must] submit a closure plan that addresses financial stability; changes in the governing body, administration and medical staff; staffing changes; transition plan; status of payments; policies and procedures and a communication plan."

    Hahnemann handles 56,000 emergency visits each year, in addition to thousands of other patients at its Center City location.

    Officials with the hospital's parent company on Wednesday suddenly announced plans to end operations at the facility at North Broad and Vine streets, throwing in question how those thousands of patients will be absorbed by surrounding medical facilities.

    The hospital owner, American Academic Health System, LLC, (AAHS), which also owns St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children said the entire facility would close Sept. 6.

    But in a letter from Mayor Kenney and the city's health commissioner obtained by NBC10, the hospital may have plans to begin diverting patients as early as this weekend, then "effectively discontinue all new admissions as of July 12 and cease most clinical operations by the end of July."

    Kenney and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley wrote to AAHS CEO Joel Freedman that such "abrupt closure of Hahnemann would cause substantial harm to patients, hospital residents and other employees, the community at large, and the City itself."

    They demanded Freedman send confirmation by 10 a.m. Thursday that the hospital owner would follow city and state regulations requiring proper advance notice before a hospital closure. 

    By 11 a.m. Thursday, a spokesman for Kenney declined to comment on the talks between the city and American Academic Health System.

    More than 800 nurses and doctors work at Hahnemann, which was the focus of an NBC10 Investigators story on inner city emergency room operations in Nov. 2017.

    Many staff rallied at City Hall on Thursday to call for a delay in the shut down and an effort to keep the hospital open.

    “We will continue to work with the hospital owners, employees and our partners in the City of Philadelphia to ensure that if this hospital has to close it does so responsibly and with minimum impact on residents,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

    Levine sent the cease-and-desist order in a letter to the hospital.

    If the hospital does eventually close, a city spokeswoman said city medics will adjust their emergency room dropoffs as needed.

    "We're not entirely sure what the impact will be, but our EMS system will adapt," she said. "We have to be flexible and adjust to changing conditions, and our firefighters and medics are the best in the business at doing that."