Gov. Wolf Statement on Cease and Desist Letter to Hahnemann University Hospital

June 27, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today 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.”

The Department of Health issued a press release this afternoon and sent the letter to Hahnemann and its owners.

View the full letter from the Department of Health.
Full letter plain text below.

June 27, 2019

Ronald Dreskin Interim System CEO
Philadelphia Academic Health System 230 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102


RE: Hahnemann University Hospital- Cease and Desist Order

Dear Mr. Dreskin:

I am writing to follow-up to your June 26, 2019 telephone conversation with Susan Coble, Deputy Secretary for Quality Assurance regarding the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital (hereinafter “Hahnemann”) located at 230 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. Section
101.196 of the Department’s Regulations (hereinafter “Regulations”), 28 Pa. Code § 101.196, require a facility to give written notice to the Department 90 days prior to closing. As part of that notification, the Department requires a facility to submit a closure plan which addresses the following: financial stability; changes in the governing body/administration/medical staff; staffing changes; transition plan; status of payments; policies and procedures; and a communication plan.

During the June 26, 2019 telephone call, you informed Deputy Secretary Coble that Hahnemann will close sometime later this summer and that the Department of Health (hereinafter “Department”) will receive written notification and a closure plan, in accordance with the Department’s Regulations, on Friday, June 28, 2019. You and/or Mr. DiNome also stated that the facility is beginning the closure process with the first step being diversion of trauma patients from the emergency department beginning July 1, 2019. As of the mailing of this letter, the Department has not received the required closure plan.

Unfortunately, since the June 26, 2019 telephone call, the Department has received conflicting information regarding actions being taken or planned to be taken at Hahnemann, including potentially diverting all emergency department patients-not just trauma patients–except walk­ ins as early as Friday, June 28, 2019. The Department has determined that an immediate closure ofHahnemann or the termination of any services without a Department-approved closure plan may cause irreparable harm to the health and safety of patients in the City of Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Specifically, if Hahnemann or any part of the facility closes prior to the upcoming July 4 holiday, it could have wide-spread effects on the City, especially given the importance it plays in our Nation’s July 4 celebration and the number of tourists and other individuals expected to be present.

For this reason, you are hereby ORDERED to CEASE and DESIST any attempt or action toward closing Hahnemann and/or eliminating services, particularly emergency department services, until the Department has received the notice required by section 101.196 of the Regulations, 28 Pa. Code§ 101.196, and approved Hahnemann’s closure plan, ensuring the safety of those persons who are reliant upon the care provided by Hahnemann. Any closure plan must include the requisite 90-day period before the closure of Hahnemann can occur.

Furthermore, you are ORDERED to ensure that your facility, including the emergency department, remains adequately staffed to handle all eventualities, unless and until approval by the Department of an appropriate closure plan. Until a closure plan is received and approved by the Department, the Department requires the facility to maintain compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements and may enter and inspect the facility and issue citations for identified deficiencies at any time.

Failure to comply with the requirements described in this ORDER may result in the Department taking any and all actions authorized by law, including fines and injunctive relief. The Department will cooperate with the facility as necessary to ensure the closure plan meets the Department’s standards and adequately protects the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 717-787-9857. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.


Rachel Levine, M.D. Secretary of Health

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