Pashinski, O’Mara, Comitta and advocates discuss Hospital Closure Reform

House Bill 158 & Senate Bill 184 would bring more transparency, accountability to closure process

HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Reps. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, and Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, and state Sen. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, hosted a news conference today with local and statewide advocates where they discussed the need for hospital closure reform legislation. 

“When hospitals and health care facilities close or significantly reduce services, patients, doctors, nurses, staff and entire communities suffer,” Pashinski said. “These facilities need oversight because they are not like other businesses, they make the difference between life or death and improve the quality of life for local patients. Even the healthiest person will at some point need help – whether that’s a visit to the emergency room, care for mental health, preventative medicine, or treatment for cancer. House Bill 158 and Senate Bill 184 would ensure that patients, doctors, nurses, staff and their communities have a voice in any major decision to close or reduce services.”

House Bill 158 and S.B. 184 would establish more comprehensive standards for the procedure and notification of a planned closure, including doubling the time in which a hospital system must notify state and local agencies of a planned closure from 90 to 180 days. In addition, the legislation also includes requirements for an approved Closing Plan and Health Equity Impact Assessment to be submitted to the Department of Health and state attorney general. And it calls for increased community input, data collection, public comment, and public hearings prior to closure.

Pashinski, O’Mara and Comitta were joined at the news conference by local and statewide advocates who support their legislation, including:

  • Dr. Monica Taylor, chair, Delaware County Council.
  • Marian Moskowitz, chair, Chester County Commission.
  • Patrick Keenan, director of consumer protections and policy, Pennsylvania Health Access Network.

“Every speaker today made it clear: Communities in Delaware, Luzerne, and Montgomery counties and across the commonwealth are suffering from an inadequate hospital closure process – hurting patients, jeopardizing the livelihoods of hospital staff, and costing local economies. I want to thank everyone who participated in today’s event for their dedication to protecting access to quality health care in Pennsylvania and support for our legislation. We are ready and willing to work with anyone – Republican, Democrat, Independent or health care systems – to find solutions to this problem and prevent it from happening again in the future,” Pashinski said.