Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney have teamed up to make sure the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital happens with as little pain as possible for both patients and employees.
They released a joint statement Monday claiming they are ready to pay upwards of $15 million to implement long-term solutions for the care of patients and employees at both Hahnemann and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
The statement was released ahead of Vermont Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ rally outside of the hospital on Monday.
“We are fighting alongside the on-site management team, the workers, the patients and the community to protect patient care and find a viable solution to this crisis created by the current owner,” the statement read.
Both hospitals are owned by the Philadelphia Academic Healthcare System (PAHS), which bought the hospitals from Tenet. Joel Freedman, an investment banker from Los Angeles, is the CEO and owner of the hospitals.
In the statement, they have also urged the White House and Congress to match all state and local funding to protect the hospital’s employees.
“We need the federal government to step up and join us in protecting these patients and workers,” the statement said.
Collectively, PAHS’ debt to the city and state is about $40 million, with an operating deficit of over $300 million.
Dennis Evans — a member of the third congressional district of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, which encompasses Downtown and West Philadelphia — penned a letter to Sanders to thank him for showing his support for the hospital.
In the letter, Evans also assured that the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation has been working to find a solution to keep the hospital open. He urged Sanders to do the same.
“While we continue to do our part in looking for remedies, I urge you to work with your Senate colleagues to investigate what has happened here and find a financially responsible way to route federal resources to these hospitals to keep them open,” Evans wrote.
The closure of Hahnemann, a hospital that mainly treats low-income patients, was announced last month. Residents and employees are now scrambling to find a new hospital to call home.
Since the announcement, several demonstrations have been held around the city by the hospital staff and administration. Several important government officials and hospital staff, along with Sanders, attended the Monday rally outside the hospital.
Hahnemann nurses held a “funeral march” Tuesday afternoon. Demonstrators marched from the hospital to City Hall holding a coffin and carrying signs of protest.