By John George Jun 26, 2019 Business Journal
The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), the state’s largest nurses’ union, said it was told Wednesday Hahnemann University Hospital is closing on Sept. 6.
The announcement was made to all employees Wednesday morning, according to a union spokesperson.
PASNAP, which represents 800 nurses at the Center City medical center, is calling on state and city officials to intervene to save Hahnemann. The union also is asking Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Kenney to commit to ensuring that the historic property will remain a hospital and “not be used as a real estate commodity to enrich its current owner.”
The ownership of Hahnemann changed hands in January 2018 when American Academic Health System (AAHS) bought the medical center and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children from Tenet Healthcare Corp. for $170 million.
California-based AAHS was never able to get Hahnemann on sound financial footing. Earlier this year, AAHS President Joel Freedman said the California-based health system might be left with no option but to close Hahnemann, which was losing between $3 million and $5 million per month.
AAHS confimed its decision to close Hahenamnn late Wednesday morning.
Freedman, the founder and president of AAHS, said the company’s goal in acquiring the hospitals was to help them both flourish and provide world-class care. “We relentlessly pursued numerous strategic options to keep Hahnemann in operation and have been uncompromising in our commitment to our staff, patients, and community,” Freedman said. “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.”
In April, after AAHS cut 175 jobs at Hahnemann, Freedman told the Philadelphia Business Journal the hospital’s long-term viability would require additional state support and improved payment rates from private health insurers.
Last week, Drexel University went to court in an effort to prevent AAHS from closing the hospital, saying the closure would “greatly disrupt” the city’s health care community. Drexel is also seeking $13 million it claims to be owed by AAHS for services Drexel physicians performed at Hahnemann.
PASNAP said it wants Freedman to account for how he has spent public healthcare dollars, including on his own executive compensation as well as on any real estate transactions between entities he controls.
“Hahnemann is a safety-net hospital that for decades has provided care to an underserved community,” said PASNAP President Maureen May. “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.”
Dr. Larry Kaiser, president and CEO of Temple University Health System, said It is unfortunate that Hahnemann is closing both from the standpoint of patients it serves but also the education provided to Drexel students and residents training in the various specialties. “We at Temple stand ready to take on a number of the residents who will be ‘orphaned’ as well as seeing patients in our ER who formerly would have gone to Hahnemann,” Kaiser said. “In addition. we would be pleased to see physicians who previously practiced at Hahnemann consider Temple for the care of their patients.”
Jefferson Health, in a statement, said, “As a colleague academic healthcare institution we share the concern for patients, employees and trainees whenever an anchor institution closes. As is always the case, Jefferson Health is prepared to provide convenient access to high-quality and safe care for members of our community, including patients and families who have relied on Hahnemann University Hospital for treatment. Thomas Jefferson University is equally committed to providing support to trainees affected by the closure and doing our part to assist them.”
Founded in 1848, Hahnemann, the union noted, has about 2,500 employees and has for decades served low-income Philadelphians.
“A Hahnemann closure would place immense stress on other area hospitals that serve a similar patient population,” PASNAP said in a statement. “Every hospital in the city already has emergency room wait times that exceed the state and national averages. These institutions cannot serve the 40,000 ER patients Hahnemann sees annually without compromising the quality of care they are able to provide. Such an event would represent a true public health emergency.”