The Health Department told the owners of Hahnemann University Hospital on Thursday that they must first file a detailed plan that ensures the safety of people who depend on the institution for care.
The 496-bed hospital announced Wednesday it would close in September due to unsustainable financial losses.
The hospital had said it planned to start diverting trauma cases from its emergency room Monday.
The state says it's since been told that even more ER patients could possibly be diverted. It ordered the hospital to cease and desist from any steps toward shutting down until a plan is approved.
"We acknowledge receipt of the DOH letter, and as we have said from the start, we intend to conduct the closure in an orderly manner that prioritizes the health care needs of our patients," said Philadelphia Academic Health System in response to the health department's letter.
Hahnemann employees rally at City Hall to save hospital from closing
Health officials say they worried about what impact even a partial closure could have on residents and tourists during the holiday.
A rally is planned Friday morning in Rittenhouse Square, as employees fight to keep Hahnemann open.
Initially, organizers with Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals, had planned to send buses to Harrisburg, but decided to relocate the rally to Philadelphia.
On Thursday, hospital employees rallied at City Hall to save the hospital from closing.
"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.
"There are so many moving pieces, I am not sure what the end result will be," oral maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Tom Nordone said.
READ THE FULL CEASE AND DESIST ORDER BELOW:
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."