COATESVILLE, August 5, 2022: State Sen. Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery/Berks) today joined state Reps. Dan Williams (D–Chester), Christina Sappey (D-Chester), and Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester) to announce companion legislation in the House and Senate to require approval from the Department of Health (DOH) before a hospital or hospital system can be purchased in Pennsylvania.
The press conference was held at the site of the former Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville which was one of two Chester County hospitals closed this Winter by Tower Health after a proposed sale to Canyon Atlantic Partners was called off.
The Brandywine Hospital and the Jennersville Hospital had been staples in our communities for decades – providing quality community-based health care, emergency services and behavioral health care while also employing our friends and neighbors in good, family-sustaining jobs. When the purchase deal fell through, the healthcare needs of our community became secondary to the profit margins of the healthcare providers,” Muth said. “Our legislature needs to do better to protect our residents and front-line workers from loss of care or employment due to corporate greed. The bills we are announcing here today will increase transparency and public oversight throughout the process of a hospital or hospital system purchase.”
According to statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the two Chester County hospitals saw more than 34,000 patients in their emergency rooms in 2020. The closures have also increased ambulance dispatch times, further lengthening 911 response times across the region.
“ The closure of Brandywine and Jennersville Hospitals this past Winter threatened not only the livelihood of 800-plus Chester County workers, but also the access to emergency health care for our residents,” Muth added. “We need to work together in Harrisburg to protect the availability of quality, accessible care options in all communities across the Commonwealth and this legislation is an important first step in that process.”
The proposed legislation would require the Department of Health to review applications, hold public hearings, and prepare impact statements on the effect of the buying and selling of health care services that the hospital or hospital system is providing. The bill would also require price transparency from hospitals or hospital systems so that patients have full access to the costs of items and services provided.
Muth indicated that the Senate version of the bill is currently being drafted. The legislation was introduced as House Bill 2704 in the House.
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