Hahnemann University Hospital to Close, Leaving Thousands Out of Work

Employees at Center City Philadelphia's Hahnemann Hospital told the historic hospital will close in September. The ownership group's reasoning is financial woes.

What to Know

  • Historic Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia is set to close leaving thousands of employees out of work.
  • Nurses and other employees were told the hospital on North Broad Street is slated to close on Sept. 6, a nurses union spokesman says.
  • The hospital was founded in 1848 and serves to train medical students and residents from Drexel University.

Financially-strapped historic Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia is slated to close later this summer.

The announcement was made during an employee town hall meeting Wednesday morning, Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) spokesman Samir Sonti said.

The hospital on North Broad Street in Center City is slated to close on or about Sept. 6, said Philadelphia Academic Health System, LLC, (PAHS), the parent company of Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in a news release.

PAHS cited "unsustainable financial losses" for its reasoning to close.

The closure would leave around 800 union nurses, said the union, which represents around 8,500 nurses across the state.

"It's very sad and we are very angry," Hahnemann PASNAP union president Susan Bowes-Wich said Wednesday morning. "We serve the most underserved citizens of the city."

The nurses are among about 2,500 employees that PAHS says are employed at the medical center.

In a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, the Philadelphia House and Senate delegations urged the governor to provide emergency funding in order to save the hospital, calling a closure a "bona fide public health emergency."

"Other area hospitals simply cannot absorb the patients Hahnemann currently serves without compromising the quality of care they are able to provide. These are matters of life and death," the legislators wrote.

NBC10 Investigators go inside Hahnemann Hospital’s trauma center during the busy midnight shift. NBC10’s George Spencer reports.

The legislators also called for Hahnemann's owners, American Academic Health Systems, to submit to an audit and to allow an independent, state-appointed monitor to oversee operations and financial management of the hospital.

The Level 1 trauma center has nearly 500 beds. PAHS said staff at the hospital will "immediately begin an orderly wind down of its inpatient and outpatient treatment services." the health group said, “our primary concern is the care of our patients.”

The union is calling on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and other elected officials to intervene to keep Hahnemann open or at least have another medical center remain open at the site.

The union also called out Joel Freedman, the chairman and founder of American Academic Health System and PAHS.

“Hahnemann is a safety-net hospital that for decades has provided care to an under-served community,” PASNAP president and nurse Maureen May said. “We cannot allow predatory, for-profit companies to plunder such a valuable public good. It is incumbent upon the state and city to step in and guarantee that the poor and working people who depend upon this hospital continue to receive the care that they need.”

The ownership of Hahnemann changed hands in January 2018 when American Academic Health System bought the medical center — and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children — from Tenet Healthcare Corp. for $170 million, reported the Philadelphia Business Journal.

California-based AAHS has not been able to get Hahnemann on sound financial ground, PBJ reports. Earlier this year, Freedman said the health system could be left with no option but to close Hahnemann as it lost between $3 to $5 million per month.

The financially-struggling hospital announced 175 job cuts earlier this year.

The financially-struggling Hahnemann University Hospital plans to cut 175 jobs.

Freedman called the decision to close, "heartbreaking."

“Our goal in acquiring the hospitals was to help them both flourish and provide world-class care,” Freedman said. “We relentlessly pursued numerous strategic options to keep Hahnemann in operation, and have been uncompromising in our commitment to our staff, patients, and community. We are saddened our efforts have not been successful, and we are faced with the heartbreaking reality that Hahnemann cannot continue to lose millions of dollars each month and remain in business.”

Wednesday evening, NBC10 obtained a letter from the Mayor's office to the owner of Hahnemann, stating they wanted assurances in writing by 10 a.m. Thursday that emergency services would not end or decrease before July 12. The letter also warned Hahnemann to not take rash actions threatening substantial harm to patients, employees and the city.

The hospital was founded in 1848 as the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. In addition to treating patients, the hospital also serves to train medical students and residents from Drexel University. 

The hospital owners are working to find placements for residents and fellows, they said.

By closing Hahnemann, PAHS can no focus its efforts on St. Christopher's, Freedman said.

“This difficult choice will enable us to focus on the future of St. Christopher’s,” Freedman said. “We anticipate a bright future for the hospital and its uniquely talented team.”

NBC10 obtained a letter the city sent to   said there were plans to divert ambulances as early as this weekend and begin closing emergency and operating room services Monday with all new admissions ending July 12.

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