Hahnemann employees rally at City Hall to save hospital from closing

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Thursday, June 27, 2019
Hahnemann University Hospital ordered to 'cease and desist' closure plans
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Hahnemann University Hospital ordered to 'cease and desist' closure plans. Ali Gorman has more on Action News at 5 p.m. on June 27, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania health officials have ordered a Philadelphia hospital to halt plans to take its first steps toward closing ahead of the busy July Fourth holiday.

Hahnemann University Hospital employees, including members of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, gathered at Philadelphia City Hall at noon Thursday to call for state leaders to step in.

The nurses' union had been handing out flyers outside the hospital in the morning to Hahnemann staff and the community for them to join the rally and one in Harrisburg on Friday.

Approximately 100 to 200 people were in attendance, some holding up signs that read "Patients over profits" and "Save our hospital."

Just a year after purchasing Hahnemann University Hospital, American Academic Health System says it plans to close the 171-year-old institution.

In a news release issued Wednesday, the company said it plans to close the hospital at Broad and Vine streets on or about September 6th.

Philadelphia Academic Health System, LLC (PAHS), said the closing is due to continuing, unsustainable financial losses.

Hospital management met with staff nurses Wednesday morning to deliver the news.

Many have struggled to process the news.

"My love and my heart go out to my patients. I appreciate the years I have serviced them," lactation consultant Sabrina Raheem told Action News at the City Hall rally.

Some, though, are still holding on to hope.

"There are so many moving pieces, I am not sure what the end result will be," oral maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Tom Nordone said.

"I'm still hopeful there might be an 11th hour save; it's looking less and less," Josh Berger, CRNA said.

"We take care of some of the sickest and neediest patients in the city, I can't imagine this corner without Hahnemann. I can't imagine the city without Hahnemann. I'm almost brought to tears, I'm so sad about this," pulmonary and critical care physician Dr. Robert Promisloff said.

Hahnemann had already laid off 175 workers in early April, citing a multi-million dollar deficit, which was increasing each month by $3 to 5 million.

The April layoffs included 66 nurses, 22 technical workers, and 88 non-union employees.

In Wednesday's statement, Joel Freedman, the founder and president of PAHS, said, "We relentlessly pursued numerous strategic options to keep Hahnemann in operation, and have been uncompromising in our commitment to our staff, patients, and community. We are saddened our efforts have not been successful."

The hospital said it is working with city and state officials to begin closing down its inpatient and outpatient services.

PASNAP, the union representing 800 registered nurses at Hahnemann, has appealed to Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia City Council, the Pennsylvania Legislative Delegation, and Governor Tom Wolf to intervene in a bid to keep the hospital open.

The union has asked that the property "not be used as a real estate commodity to enrich its current owner."

Hahnemann University Hospital has 496 beds and about 2,500 workers.