Some Pennsylvania hospitals see 20% increase to ER visits after Crozer closure

Days after Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill, Pa., suspended inpatient and ER care upon a state order, area emergency departments have seen patient increases of up to 20 percent — but correlation to the hospital's closure is not completely clear, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Nov. 11.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health ordered the suspension of patient admissions and emergency room services at Crozer Health's Delaware County Memorial Hospital, effective Nov. 7. The health department's order — effective Nov. 7 — was primarily prompted by Crozer failing to provide diagnostic imaging coverage for the hospital. 

Delaware County Memorial Hospital's emergency department saw an average of 55 patients a day in its last week of operation. 

One official at an area hospital told the Philadelphia Inquirer that rising hospital volumes amid an early flu and respiratory virus season make it difficult to gauge the precise impact of Delaware County Memorial Hospital's closure. 

"Our volumes at all of our campuses are up about 20 percent, including our Paoli campus, so there's definitely an impact that's going on right now with RSV [a respiratory virus] and with flu that's starting to hit our local ERs," Jonathan Stallkamp, MD, CMO of Newtown Square, Pa.-based Main Line Health, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. He said the Paoli (Pa.) Hospital is too distant to pick up Delaware County Memorial patients.

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa., has seen a roughly 20 percent increase in emergency department visits, or about 20 patients a day, a system spokesperson told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The hospital is about two miles away from Delaware County Memorial. 

Crozer Health said its Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park had seen a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in visits, and its Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland has seen visits increase of 5 percent to 8 percent, according to a system spokesperson.

The state's suspension order was the latest development about Crozer and 168-bed Delaware County Memorial Hospital in what has been an eventful fall. Crozer Health was prepared to halt all services at Delaware County Memorial Hospital by Nov. 20 and transition the hospital to an inpatient behavioral health center by spring 2023. A Pennsylvania judge halted that transition plan in October after the Foundation for Delaware County filed a petition requesting an emergency preliminary injunction.

 

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