Casey, Toomey Spearhead PA Delegation Letter Asking for Federal Review of Impacts from Hahnemann Closure

Casey, Toomey Spearhead PA Delegation Letter Asking for Federal Review of Impacts from Hahnemann Closure

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and several members of the Pennsylvania House delegation, are asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the impact of the pending closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Senators Casey and Toomey urge the department to ensure the 550 Graduate Medical Education (GME) residency positions at Hahnemann remain in Pennsylvania, and ask for details on how the department will assist in a smooth transition for patients, faculty, staff, and medical residents.

The delegation wrote:

“The closure of Hahnemann, a safety-net hospital, could leave a gap in care for some of the most vulnerable populations in Philadelphia. It will also cause employment disruption for nearly 800 faculty and clinical staff and the displacement of hundreds of medical students.”

”Given the urgency of this situation, we would appreciate a response that details your plan of action by August 9, 2019.”

Established in 1848, Hahnemann sees over 55,000 patients a year, more than 60 percent of whom are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Hahnemann employs approximately 2,500 people.

The full letter – which was also signed by U.S. Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.-2), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.-3), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.-5) and Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.-4) – is included below.

Dear Secretary Azar:

We write on behalf of our constituents in Southeastern Pennsylvania who are impacted by the impending closure of Hahnemann University Hospital and seek your assistance with this matter.  Established in 1848, Hahnemann sees over 55,000 patients a year, more than 60 percent of whom are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Hahnemann employs approximately 2,500 people and trains over 550 residents. 

Last year Hahnemann, along with the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, were purchased by the American Academic Health System (AAHS). Last month, AAHS filed for bankruptcy and announced that it planned to close Hahnemann in September and is quickly reducing services, such as ending trauma care and closing the maternity ward. 

The closure of Hahnemann, a safety-net hospital, could leave a gap in care for some of the most vulnerable populations in Philadelphia. It will also cause employment disruption for nearly 800 faculty and clinical staff and the displacement of hundreds of medical residents.

While residents are not limited in where they may transfer to complete their residency training, the uncertainty surrounding the permanent redistribution of Hahnemann’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) slots is a concern. A provision of the Affordable Care Act requires the permanent redistribution of slots when a hospital closes and any institution could submit an application for these slots through the Section 5506 application and award process. We urge the Department to ensure these residency slots remain within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the permanent cap transfer phase of this closure process.

In addition to our interest in retaining GME slots in the Commonwealth, we write today to better understand how the Department will assist Hahnemann in a smooth transition for the populations impacted by this hospital closure including patients, faculty, clinical staff, and medical residents. Given the urgency of this situation, we would appreciate a response that details your plan of action by August 9, 2019.

We look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.

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