If passed, the legislation likely won’t have much effect on the current Crozer situation. But state officials said the bills are designed to prevent the next Crozer – or Hahnemann – from happening anywhere else in the Keystone State.
“We have an opportunity here to right many of the wrongs that have existed in one broken place. We need to get these bills on the floor in Harrisburg,” Zabel said.
Along with Kearney and Zabel, State Sens. Anthony Williams and John Kane, alongside State Reps. Jennifer O’Mara, Leanne Krueger, and Gina Curry, were joined at their press conference by health care workers and members of the public.
Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor said that the county is doing everything in its power to keep Crozer’s services open by continuing to have discussions with the health system and Prospect, while ongoing litigation plays out.
“We shouldn’t have to take legal action to ensure a health care system provides vital care to the residents that it serves,” Taylor said. “The county has immense concerns about the devastating impact that the sudden loss of critical services would have on our community.”
Jaime Blair, an organizer from Put People First! Pennsylvania, is part of a statewide grassroots organization of people in 44 counties, who are advocating for legislation to prevent hospital closures. Blair told WHYY News that there are 16 rural hospitals across the state at risk of being shut down. She said she wants a more organized nationwide response to the ills facing health care in the US
“We know people on or excluded from Medicaid are hit hardest as hospitals that serve poor communities are targeted first for closures because profiteers can’t make as much money off of them,” Blair said.
She also highlighted a bill recently introduced in the state House calling for the establishment of an Office of the Public health Care Advocate which would be housed in the Attorney General’s office.
“The public health care advocate would bring greater accountability to both for-profit and nonprofit health care profiteers, as well as all health care related state agencies,” Blair said.
Peggy Malone, president of the Crozer-Chester Nurses Association, said she was “grateful” to see the elected officials standing up to Prospect.
However, she said that Crozer is still in a rough patch especially in the behavioral health and substance abuse units. Malone said that it is imperative that the patients still receive care beyond summer negotiations — and litigation — between the county and the company.
“We just want to make sure that this is sustainable. We are really hopeful that the sale with ChristianaCare goes through and Prospect Medical leaves, and then we can rebuild a hospital to the way it was before,” Malone said.
Earlier this week, ChristianaCare announced that it was purchasing Jennersville Hospital in Chester County from Tower Health. Malone said she is still optimistic that ChristianaCare can still follow through with her interest in also acquiring Crozer.