DOH officials meet with Hahnemann just day after ordering ‘cease and desist’

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s been a winding road, and now the Pennsylvania Department of Health says they’ve had their first meeting with Hahnemann Hospital officials since ordering them to cease their closure plans.

According to the DOH, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine met with both with officials from Hahnemann University Hospital and their parent company, Philadelphia Academic Health System.

This comes just 24 hours after Levine ordered Hahnemann University Hospital and its owners to ‘cease and desist’ plans to close the hospital.

“Hahnemann University Hospital is vital to the community’s health care and its owners cannot stop treating patients with no plans in place for their continued care,” she said in a statement Thursday. “There is a legal process in place to ensure that this difficult transition happens in a way that protects public health. Hahnemann must follow that process, including keeping its emergency department open.”

Today, Levine says PAHS met with her and her department to discuss their closure plan.

“Both parties expressed their commitment to working in a way that protects public health with minimum disruption to patients and staff,” she said. “We appreciate the owners’ willingness to hear our concerns and their intent to meet our recommendations.”

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In addition to Friday’s meeting in Harrisburg, the DOH says they’ve sent a team to the Center City hospital to “monitor the situation at Hahnemann.”

According to Levine, the department’s cease and desist order will remain in place as further conversations between both parties continue.

The Keystone State isn’t the only one looking to force Hahnemann’s doors open, as the City of Philadelphia joined Drexel University in an injunction to prevent Hahnemann University Hospital from closing without notice.

Philadelphia is hoping a judge will order American Academic Health Systems to keep the hospital open and is using the Fourth of July festivities as a reason for urgent action.

“Attendees would be required to travel or be transported to more distant facilities” in case of an emergency, the motion states, creating “a significant risk (of) … harm to their health and safety.” 

They also argue that Philadelphia would suffer irreparable harm if the hospital shuts its emergency room without notice. The Vine Street hospital is the only location in the city that offers special nursing assistance for sexual assault victims.

Drexel’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for Monday, as Hahnemann says they will close in a orderly manner around Sept. 6.

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