June 27, 2019
Hahnemann University Hospital has been ordered to cease and desist plans to begin closing down operations at the Center City health care facility, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday.
As nurses and labor leaders rallied in protest of Wednesday's announcement of the planned Sept. 6 closure, the state Department of Health moved to halt the hospital's timeline for shutting down.
“This action by the Department of Health was undertaken to ensure the people who rely on the emergency medicine and other services at Hahnemann University Hospital are not suddenly left without care, and its employees aren’t left without jobs," Wolf said in a statement. "We have processes and procedures in place to assure these things don’t occur and this letter, in no uncertain terms, advises Hahnemann that it must follow those rules in the best interest of patients and employees."
Hahnemann officials said Wednesday they would immediately begin "an orderly closure" of all inpatient and outpatient services at the 496-bed hospital.
The announcement came just days after Drexel University filed a lawsuit to prevent a sudden closure of the hospital. The university's medical school uses Hahnemann as its main teaching hospital.
The hospital currently employs about 2,500 people and recently shed 175 jobs amid ongoing financial strain. Officials said Hahnemann was suffering monthly losses of between $3 million and $5 million.
Wolf said Thursday the state is attempting to work with American Academic Health System, the company that purchased the hospital last year, to prevent the looming closure in early September.
“To date, my administration has been working with the hospital’s leadership, particularly pertaining to delaying their payments on the Philadelphia Hospital Assessment and the Statewide Hospital Assessment to provide them financial flexibility to avoid closure," Wolf said.
The cease and desist letter will require Hahnemann University Hospital to receive approval of a closure plan from the Department of Health before closing or eliminating services, specifically in the emergency department.
“We acknowledge receipt of the DOH letter, and as we have said from the start, we intend to conduct the closure in an orderly manner that prioritizes the health care needs of our patients," Hahnemann officials said in a statement.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the hospital's closure will put undue pressure on emergency rooms throughout the city.
"We are deeply worried about the potential impact on patients and workers, and intend to continue working with all parties to ensure the best possible outcome," Kenney said.