HARRISBURG >> Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine on June 27 ordered Hahnemann University Hospital and its owners to cease and desist plans to close the hospital, including shutting down its emergency department in the next few days, until the department receives written notice that the hospital intends to close and submits a closure plan.
“Hahnemann University Hospital is vital to the community’s health care and its owners cannot stop treating patients with no plans in place for their continued care,” Dr. Levine said. “There is a legal process in place to ensure that this difficult transition happens in a way that protects public health. Hahnemann must follow that process, including keeping its emergency department open.”
According to the regulations, a hospital is required to give 90 days written notice to the department of its intent to close, and as part of that notification 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.
“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.” Dr. Levine said.
Philadelphia Academic Health System, LLC, (PAHS), offered the following statement in response to the letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Health concerning the planned closure of Hahnemann Hospital:
“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.”
Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement reaffirming the decision by the Department of Health to issue a cease and desist order to Hahnemann University Hospital and its owners regarding the announced closure of the facility:
“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. 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.
“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.
“However, a lack of response from hospital ownership did not provide the confidence that regulations were being adhered to and so the department took legal action so that the hospital makes no attempt or action toward closing and or eliminating services, particularly emergency department services, until the Department of Health has received notice and approved a closure plan.”