WEST CHESTER, PA (August 5, 2022) – In order to empower greater community input and increase public transparency, state Senator Carolyn Comitta is introducing legislation to reform the process around hospital closures.
“A sudden, profit-driven decision to close an emergency facility can have a destabilizing effect on an entire region and people deserve a complete picture on the ramifications of a potential closure,” Comitta said. “This legislation looks to address these concerns by creating a transparent process that encourages greater public participation, so communities can quickly set a course of action to restore access to health services.”
The legislation comes in the wake of Tower Health’s decision to close two Chester County hospitals, Jennersville and Brandywine, earlier this year. The bill increases the notice hospitals must give before closing a facility, from 90 days to 180 days. It also establishes more comprehensive and defined standards for procedure and notification of a closure.
“Abrupt announcements and a lack of transparency around recent hospital closures left many people searching for answers concerning the future of critical health services in their community, Comitta said. “This bill will provide local and state officials, community leaders, and healthcare professionals additional time to assess a potential closure and reduce the likelihood of a lapse in emergency service.”
The bill also includes requirements for an approved Closing Plan and Health Equity Impact Assessment to be submitted to the Department of Health and Attorney General, and it calls for increased community input, data collection, public comment, and public hearings prior to closure.
“Like doctors and those in the medical community, hospitals have a duty to ‘first do no harm,’” Comitta added. “This bill aims to support and empower a community to seek other solutions for vital health services and prevent a ripple effect to other essential services. While we cannot reverse previous actions taken by emergency service providers, these reform measures bring Pennsylvanians towards a more transparent view of our healthcare system.”