By Julia Harris, Staff Reporter In December 2021, more than 7,200 people signed a petition to keep Jennersville and Brandywine Hospitals open. Their efforts failed. Now, months later, there is hope for Jennersville’s reopening. Tower Health, a regional healthcare provider, closed both hospitals for financial reasons last December. ChristianaCare, a Delaware-based health system, purchased Jennersville...
By Julia Harris, Staff Reporter
In December 2021, more than 7,200 people signed a petition to keep Jennersville and Brandywine Hospitals open. Their efforts failed. Now, months later, there is hope for Jennersville’s reopening.
Tower Health, a regional healthcare provider, closed both hospitals for financial reasons last December. ChristianaCare, a Delaware-based health system, purchased Jennersville Hospital from Tower Health for $8 million in July. However, it had no means to actually reopen the hospital before now. In September, the American Rescue Fund Plan Act provided ChristianaCare with a $2.5 million grant to jump-start its efforts.
“The closing of hospitals across the region has made it harder for people to access the care that they need,” said Michael Whalen, emergency medicine physician and Main Line Health EMS director. “This is more than just inconvenient. It is a big problem as ambulance travel times for emergency services are going up. Even when you get to the ER, the waiting times are up to six hours. The remaining hospitals have to take on more patients than ever.”
In 2021, around 35,000 patients visited Jennersville and Brandywine Hospitals’ emergency rooms, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This year, these community members had to find somewhere else to go. The closest options include Paoli, Chester County and Phoenixville Hospitals.
For some, the nearest emergency room is now 45 minutes away. This places the burden on paramedics to care for patients suffering from life-threatening conditions like heart attacks and strokes.
“Unfortunately the hospitals that close are usually the ones serving in areas that need the most help in the first place. Jennersville Hospital had a prominent role in serving the local Hispanic community, and now that community has to look elsewhere to get the medical care that they need,” Whalen said.
Douglas Azar, ChristianaCare Senior Vice President of Strategic Clinical Integration, said that the abandoned building currently has neither information technology infrastructure nor laboratory equipment, which is why the government funding was necessary.
He noted that even though ChristianaCare will most likely not be in a position to reopen the hospital within the next 12 months, community members and medical staff at Chester County Hospitals are looking forward to the reopening. It is expected to bring great relief to the other hospitals and peace of mind to people in the Jennersville area.
Julia Harris can be reached at [email protected].
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