AG wants Crozer, Prospect held in contempt and fined for hospital closure

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General has filed a petition seeking to have Crozer Health and its parent Prospect Medical Holdings held in contempt and fined $100,000 per day for violating a court order prohibiting the closure of Delaware County Memorial Hospital pending further order by the court, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Nov. 15. 

The attorney general's Nov. 15 filing in Delaware County Court of Common Pleas asks Judge Robert J. Shenkin to fine Los Angeles-based Prospect $100,000 for each day the hospital remains closed. The requested fine totals $800,000 as of Nov. 15.

In October, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that Crozer Health could move forward with its plan to close Delaware County Memorial. Crozer announced in mid-September that all services at Delaware County Memorial would be halted by Nov. 20 under a plan to transition the hospital to an inpatient behavioral health center by spring 2023. 

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

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the state's governor-elect, said the order provided by the state health department requires that Delaware County Memorial suspend services until staffing issues are resolved.

"My office will use every tool available to us to continue to ensure the people of Delaware County have access to the care they need," Mr. Shapiro said in a statement shared with Becker's. "The order provided by the Department of Health requires that DCMH close their emergency room doors until staffing issues are resolved. Prospect's failure to resolve its staffing shortages violates the injunction that the trial court imposed to maintain the hospital's service lines and Prospect cannot be permitted to forgo resolving the Department of Health's order to avoid meeting the staffing demands of the trial court order." 

Crozer Health CEO Anthony Esposito said while the health system is aware of Pennsylvania Attorney General Office's petition, "it is worth noting that we remain under the directive of a Department of Health order."

"Violating this order comes with its own penalties," Mr. Esposito said, as reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal. "Given these facts, we continue to comply with the Department of Heath's order and disagree with contentions of the petition mentioned in [Mr. Shapiro's] statement."

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