Cephas, Hohenstein introduce legislation to expand notification time for hospital closures

HARRISBURG, Jan. 21 – Following the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia in September, state Reps. Morgan Cephas and Joe Hohenstein have introduced legislation that would help support the communities and staff impacted by sudden closures.

“The closure of Hahnemann created a devasting ripple effect throughout Philadelphia and surrounding areas. For more than 170 years, the hospital served a low-income patient population and was a teaching hospital, training doctors and nurses,” Cephas said. “Since the announcement in June 2019 that Hahnemann would close its doors for good, the process that followed was swift, offering patients and employees little to no options in the aftermath.”  

The representatives said their bill (H.B. 2242) would help change that. It would require hospitals to provide written notice of intent to close within 180 days. Current law only requires 90 days.

“I stood on the front lines in solidarity with labor unions representing the many hospital staffers who were left unemployed. I heard their grievances and I saw surrounding economically disadvantaged communities being deprived quality health care,” Hohenstein said. “Very few at the top benefit while countless people and families are left to suffer. We can no longer allow these closures to be carried out similarly to regular business dealings because there’s too much at stake. “

Cephas added, “Hospital owners view closures and acquisitions purely as business as usual but ignore how vital these hospitals truly are to the lives of medical staff, patients and public health. There is also no thought in how these actions would impact the local economy and jobs. That needs to change.”

The operators of Hahnemann University Hospital filed for bankruptcy in June 2019. The level one trauma center served around 40,000 emergency room patients each year while in operation.