No more private equity hospital purchases in Pennsylvania, lawmakers urge

Pennsylvania lawmakers want to bring in legislation placing a ban on private equity groups and other for-profit entities from buying hospitals in a bid to curtail the rise of healthcare deserts in the state, Bloomberg reported March 23.

The move comes after cutbacks at private equity-owned Upland, Pa.-based Crozer Health and its closure of two facilities in the state: Springfield Hospital and Drexel Hill, Pa.-based Delaware County Memorial. While there is an ongoing court battle regarding the Delaware County facility, Springfield was closed in what was called a temporary move but remains shuttered.

Crozer Health, owned by Culver City, Calif.-based private equity group Prospect Medical Holdings, said March 15 it is laying off approximately 215 employees.

Linked planned legislation also includes a limit on sale-leaseback transactions on hospital real estate and a ban on owners paying dividends within two years of an acquisition, the report said.

The hospital shutdowns in Pennsylvania have led to what bill sponsor Sen. Tim Kearney describes as a "maternal care desert."

"It's really shocking here," Mr. Kearney said. "You expect that in rural Arkansas."

Wilmington, Del.-based ChristianaCare signed a letter of intent to acquire Crozer Health from Prospect in February 2022, but that agreement didn't go further, the report said.

The legislative moves mirror other proposed legislation designed to prevent abrupt hospital closures in Pennsylvania.

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