Jefferson Reacts to Hahnemann’s Closure
Faculty and staff respond to what the closure means for them, for Jefferson, and for Philadelphia
Earlier this summer, Hahnemann University Hospital—a for-profit Philadelphia hospital about one mile from Jefferson’s Center City campus—announced it would cease operations after providing care for more than 170 years. Giving fewer than 90 days’ notice, the closure came as a shock to the people of Philadelphia—and to the patients, residents, and staff who depended upon the hospital for their health, education, and livelihood.
When the bankruptcy petition was filed on June 30, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital jumped into action. Within the first month, daily emergency department arrivals increased by 40, three more babies were delivered each day, dozens of displaced residents were brought in, and ambulance volume jumped 67 percent.
“The closure of Hahnemann is a tragedy for all of Philadelphia, but it is also an object lesson that we cannot wait for a solution to come to us,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “Hope is not a strategy.”
The impact of the closing has been felt at all levels of Jefferson. Here is what some of those affected are saying.
Peter Sacci, SKMC ’17
I and a lot of my co-residents were heartbroken. We’d really come to love Hahnemann. And of course there’s the added question of, “What are we going to do next?” The great thing about Philadelphia is there are so many hospitals and opportunities for specialty medicine. I got a handful of offers and decided to come back to Jefferson. It’s a great institution, a great hospital, and I’m excited to be able to continue practicing emergency medicine here.
Third Year Emergency Medicine Resident
Robin Naples, MD
Jefferson’s emergency department has seen a significant increase in EMS volume as well as walk-in patients. We have had to reconsider our staffing of the ED to safely care for the influx of patients. Within the emergency medicine residency, we have absorbed the largest contingency of residents within Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. This was a huge undertaking which required planning and organization.
Residency Program Director, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, SKMC
Judd E. Hollander, MD
The Hahnemann closure highlights a larger problem. Whether you have commercial payers or a single-payer system, if there is not enough reimbursement for care to pay the bills, health systems simply cannot stay afloat. At the end of the day, the Hahnemann closure represents a failure of society to cover the necessary costs of care for our citizens. It is critical that someone pays for the costs of care before another hospital has the same fate.
Senior Vice President, Healthcare Delivery Innovation
Associate Dean, Strategic Health Initiatives
Stephanie Conners, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC
Jefferson had minimal time to react to the crisis, yet did so immediately due to our close proximity to Hahnemann. As a team, we rallied to create ease of access for any patients who needed care. We formed action-oriented committees to develop strategies to prepare our very busy hospital for the anticipated surge of patients—and we have done so seamlessly. We have onboarded more than 150 employees from Hahnemann because not only do we care about the patients, but we also care about the employees. The entire Jefferson family is committed to doing the right thing.
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Jefferson Health
Bruce A. Meyer, MD, MBA
The closure of Hahnemann hospital is a sad day in Philadelphia, as a 171-year-old institution ceases to exist. At Jefferson, our response has been to ensure that the people of our community who were served by Hahnemann can continue to access and receive high-quality care. This has required sometimes-Herculean efforts by our staff who have uniformly risen to the occasion and managed the stressors successfully with empathy and quality.
Senior Executive Vice President, Thomas Jefferson University
President, Jefferson Health
Edmund Pribitkin, MD, MBA
We are incredibly proud of our own providers and staff who have leaned in to this crisis with a positive, caring spirit that underscores our commitment to putting patients first and doing the right thing. We remain firmly committed to providing safe, quality care to all of Philadelphia’s residents while shepherding the resources required to thrive in this new environment.
Chief Medical Officer, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
President, Jefferson Medical Group