Chester County, Pa. residents worried about access to health care as 2 hospitals set to close

Tower Health says it will work with patients to transition care and help employees on placement in other positions.
WEST GROVE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Two Chester County, Pennsylvania hospitals owned by Tower Health will close because the sale of both facilities fell through.

Jennersville Hospital in West Grove will close on December 31 and Brandywine Hospital in Caln Township will close on January 31.

A buyer was set to acquire both hospitals, but Tower Health says the company did not meet its regulatory and financial obligations to complete the transaction.

Tower Health says it will work with patients to transition care and help employees on placement in other positions.

Now, community leaders are voicing concern and are worried about access to care for their residents.

"Tragic actually. They have about 15,000 people that go to the ER over there. Where are they going to go?" said Stephen Black, mayor of West Grove.

Black said losing the hospital would cripple the community.

"It is a staple in the community. It has been here forever. It is the only one down in southern Chester County. Penn Medicine did build an outpost recently, but that is more for wellness and healthcare," he said.

Paramedics say the loss of a community hospital boils down to a life and death situation.

"In many cases, seconds and minutes matter, and our paramedic services and the local basic life support ambulances services here, we are going through all kinds of adjustments. We want to maintain that level of service here," said Bob Hotchkiss, EMS Chief for southern Chester County.

Residents that rely on the facilities will have to drive dozens of miles for health care. Some families live literally feet from the hospital that serves them and dread what life will be like if there's an emergency, but no place to go.

"It was very devastating because like I said, people around here if they have an emergency, this is the close hospital they can go to," said Maria Velazquez, of West Grove.

Tower Health released this statement on the closure:

"For sixteen months, Tower Health pursued every viable option to secure the future of Brandywine and Jennersville Hospitals, including extensive exploration of potential new owners. When we announced a definitive agreement for Canyon Atlantic Partners to acquire both hospitals, we believed we had finally found a solution that would preserve Brandywine and Jennersville as acute care hospitals. Unfortunately, despite our understanding at the time the agreement was signed - and after multiple requests and extensions over the last three weeks - Canyon Atlantic Partners has ultimately not demonstrated the necessary regulatory and operational preparedness, nor validated its financial ability, to complete this transaction and operate these hospitals. As a result, both hospitals will close: Jennersville Hospital effective 11:59 PM on December 31, 2021; and Brandywine Hospital effective 11:59 PM on January 31, 2022.

We are deeply saddened by this turn of events, however, no viable options remain for the continued operation of these facilities. Our responsibility to our patients, as well as employees and the communities served, is to ensure this transition included an effective and safe path for change. In the end, we are highly disappointed that Canyon Atlantic Partners has not been able to satisfy these essential requirements. Tower Health will work with patients to transition care, and with employees and providers on placement into other positions."
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.