What to Know
- Hahnemann handles 56,000 emergency visits each year, in addition to thousands of other patients at its Center City location.
- St. Christopher's Hospital for Children is expected to stay open following the bankruptcy proceedings.
- Hahnemann is set to close in September. It stopped accepting trauma patients last Friday.
All non-emergency surgeries and procedures are no longer to be performed at Hahnemann University Hospital, starting July 12, according to a letter to patients Tuesday, and that includes baby deliveries.
"If you are due to give birth in July and August, we will contact you by phone to help arrange for your admission to another Philadelphia hospital," the letter from the Drexel University College of Medicine's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology read.
Drexel doctors staff many of Hahnemann's departments and wards. A Drexel spokeswoman said there are 819 pregnant women expected to deliver babies at Hahnemann who are being contacted.
The abrupt closure announcement last month by the Center City hospital has thrown into turmoil Philadelphia's medical community and emergency response protocol. A pending bankruptcy for its parent company remains on a tumultuous path, with hundreds of doctors in residence training wondering what the future holds.
In all, about 3,000 jobs will be lost when the hospital completely closes later this year.
Despite demands by city and state health officials that Hahnemann continue serving the public's medical needs until a complete closure plan was accepted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the hospital began shutting down services at the beginning of July.
However, the state's health secretary announced last week that a temporary manager would be put in place at the hospital to help usher Hahnemann through its closure. The hospital began diverting patients from its Level 1 trauma center during the last weekend in June.
"Placing a temporary manager allows the department to immediately access information regarding the needs of patients and staff at both locations,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. "In working with PAHS officials to agree to a temporary manager, it allows us to ensure this process continues smoothly."
In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filed in a Delaware federal court July 1, Philadelphia Academic Health System, a limited liability company, said it seeks to wind down operations at Hahnemann while keeping St. Christopher's in full operation.
In the filing, PAHS said it had liabilities between $100-$500 million with only $10-$50 million in assets.
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Drexel, which has used Hahnemann as a training ground and extension of its medical school for several years, has dealt with weekly pitfalls arising from the closure announcement. Last week, Drexel officials in an initial bankruptcy hearing claimed that appointments not honoring an agreement to help its doctors in residence get new appointements.
Residents are medical school graduates working in a hospital, usually under an attending physician, as part of on-the-job training in a medical specialty.
Drexel told soon-to-be mothers who used accommodationst the patients would be able to find accomodations of their choosing.
"Drexel Obstetrics and Gynecology physicians, midwives, nurses and nurse practitioners are committed to your care and are working with local hospitals to provide you with the highest quality of care," the letter to patients said. "Currently, Drexel Obstetrics and Gynecology is working closely with Thomas Jefferson, Center City. However, you may deliver your baby in any hospital you choose, and we will coordinate your care with any hospital you designate."
Some good news has bubbled to the surface, however, as a renowned gender-affirming surgery program at the hospital has found a new home and the state announced a temporary manager to oversee operations through the eventual closure.
Hahnemann's unique Transgender Fellowship Training Program, the first of its kind in the United States, will relocate to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, according to a report in the Philadelphia Gay News.
The program is led by Dr. Kathy Rumer, who performs about 400 gender-affirming surgeries each year. It began in 2018 at Hahnemann, and will relocate to Jefferson next summer. Fellows in the program are trained in the surgery as well as "sensitive interactions with the trans community," the Gay News said.
Rumer was featured in NBC10's award-winning 2018 series, "Jude's Journey," which chronicled a transition for Jude Navas. The doctor also owns a cosmetic surgery practice in Ardmore.
The fallout for more than 3,000 staff, nurses and doctors who work at the hospital began playing out in court on day one. At the first-day hearing in Delaware Bankruptcy Court on July 2, a lawyer for Drexel University College of Medicine said doctors in residence training at the hospital are left in limbo because of the announced closure.
The Drexel medical school utilizes Hahnemann as a training ground for more than 500 medical residents, and the two have an agreement in place that requires Hahnemann work to place those residents in different hospitals if it announces a closure, a lawyer for Drexel said in court.
Law360.com reported that attorney Kevin Kerns of Cozen O'Connor said Hahnemann is not living up to its end of the bargain.
"[The closure motion] is wildly incorrect. It says there is cooperation between Hahnemann and Drexel, and that is simply not taking place," Kerns told the court, according to Law360.com. "In fact, the opposite is happening and it's causing problems."
Hahnemann stopped accepting trauma patients on Friday night after submitting a closure plan to state health officials. The hospital notified the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation that it was "de-designating" as a Level 1 and 2 trauma facility.
“Patient safety continues to be our number one priority,” said Allen Wilen, the company's Chief Restructuring Officer. “We are implementing a comprehensive closure plan and working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to ensure a smooth transition of patients and services.”
Wilen said the bankruptcy filing should give St. Christopher's the most flexibility for restructuring. One of Philadelphia's three children's hospitals, the 188 bed facility employs 1,900 people and serves some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
According to court filings, PAHS owes $20.1 million to Tenent Healthcare, Hahnemann and St. Christopher's former owners; $14.1 million to Drexel University, which operates medicaln's medicial school; and nearly $700,000 to the city; among other debts.