Philadelphia hospital won't reopen to treat COVID-19 patients

Hahnemann University Hospital, which closed last year, will not be reopened to treat COVID-19 patients, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced March 26.

Philadelphia leaders identified Hahnemann as a possible site to quarantine patients who have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19. However, the mayor said the city is ending its effort to rent the shuttered hospital after negotiations with the hospital's owner, Joel Freedman, failed to progress.

"We need to focus on the crisis at hand — including the need to develop facilities that will serve as field hospitals, as quarantine space, and as isolation space — facilities that will help save lives," Mr. Kenney said. "We will focus our energies on working with other property owners in order to find temporary solutions to these absolutely vital needs. And I fully expect that we will find owners who are ready and willing to step up, to work with us, to do what is best for all Philadelphians."

Talks collapsed a few days after Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy said negotiations with Mr. Freedman were not going well.

"I think he is looking at how to turn an asset that is earning no revenue into an asset that earns some revenue, and isn't actually particularly thinking through what the impacts are on public health," Mr. Abernathy said of Mr. Freedman at a March 24 press briefing, according to WHYY. "I think he's looking at this as a business transaction rather than providing an imminent and important aid to the city and our residents."

Regarding the city's decision to end negotiations, Mr. Freedman's Broad Street Healthcare Properties provided the following statement to Becker's:

"We appreciate and applaud the city's efforts to address the health crisis quickly. We understand that the city doesn't feel that the Hahnemann building currently fits their urgent needs as a quarantine site. Should the situation change we stand ready to reengage in discussions on how the city or the state can best use the facility."

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