Nurses challenge sale, closure of Pennsylvania hospitals

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals is challenging the planned closure of Hahnemann University Hospital and objecting to proposed bidding and auction procedures to be used for the sale of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, according to Bloomberg Law.

Hahnemann and St. Christopher's, both in Philadelphia, were included in a June 30 Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed by Philadelphia Academic Health System, a subsidiary of American Academic Health System. PAHS plans to close Hahnemann in September and sell St. Christopher's.

In court documents filed July 23, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals urged Philadelphia Academic Health System to keep both hospitals open. The union said Hahnemann should be sold through an auction supervised by the bankruptcy court, according to Bloomberg Law.

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals also wants to ensure its collective bargaining agreement with St. Christopher's is honored by the hospital's buyer. The union, which represents roughly 400 nurses and clinicians at St. Christopher's, said the sale agreement should state that the purchaser is obligated to "recognize, honor, assume and cure the collective bargaining agreement and the accrued unpaid employee benefits," according to the court filing obtained by Bloomberg Law.

American Academic Health System acquired St. Christopher's and Hahnemann from Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare in January 2018. In April 2019, AAHS said Hahnemann was losing $3 million to $5 million a month and may have to close. The hospital began scaling back services in recent weeks and officials plan to shut down the facility by Sept. 6.

Hahnemann is the teaching hospital of Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. The hospital announced July 24 that it was releasing physicians in training to ensure they can transfer to another hospital.

"Helping our residents and fellows continue their training and launch their careers with a minimum of disruption has been a top priority of our closure plans," said interim CEO of Philadelphia Academic Health System Ron Dreskin, according to CBS Philly. "The hospital is using an orderly approach to releasing the residents and fellows to ensure patients are still being safely cared for as Hahnemann winds down operations."

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