Temporary manager appointed for Hahnemann, St. Christopher's

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The Pennsylvania Health Department has appointed a temporary manager for Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced the move today after meeting with officials of Philadelphia Academic Health System, the parent company of the two hospitals, for several hours.

She says PAHS has voluntarily agreed to the state-appointed manager.

That manager, Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting, is already on the job, to work collaboratively with hospital officials and represent the state, making sure staffing and patients needs are met as Hahnemann shuts down, and as St. Christopher's goes through bankruptcy.

"We're continuing to work on the development of an acceptable closure plan. And the cease and desist order continues. And many of those details will also be worked out in bankruptcy court," says Dr. Levine.

State laws require hospitals to file an get approval for any shut downs, with at least 90 days notice.

Hahnemann's owner announced last week they intend to close 'on or around" September 6, less than 90 days from the date of the announcement.
Staff members have told 6abc they've been informed the closing may come by late August.

Hahnemann began turning away trauma patients last weekend.

Dr. Levine said the hospital was about to lose its trauma center designation, even without the decision to close.

Hospitals must maintain minimum numbers of specialists, such as neurosurgeons, to keep trauma center status, and Hahnemann has had trouble maintaining those before.

Dr. Levine says there are seriously ill and trauma patients unable to be cared for at Hahnemann who are being transferred to other medical centers as openings are located for them.

She says state is consulting with Philadelphia Health Department and the hospitals on those cases.

Dr. Levine also says she's trying to help hundreds of medical residents, who can't go to new hospitals until the federal funds supporting them are released by PAHS.

"There are continued discussions as we speak, and a lot of that will be handled in bankruptcy court to make sure that every resident is able to have a slot that can accomodate their training needs," she told reporters.

Harkening back to her days as a pediatric resident, Dr. Levine says the department is very concerned about their predicament.

Drexel University released a statement on the situation late today, which reads in part:

"All Resident Physicians at Hahnemann Hospital are employees of American Academic Health System (AAHS), not of Drexel. ...These graduate medical education programs are of great educational and clinical importance, and the College of Medicine will continue to work with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, to minimize, to the extent possible, any disruption in their training resulting from the closure of the Hospital."
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