Hahnemann nurses argue Jefferson is preventing potential sale

Mike Dougherty
August 29, 2019 - 6:35 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hahnemann University Hospital is set to close next week, and nurses are furious because they say another hospital is meddling in preventing a potential sale. 

Two local, unnamed hospitals have reported interest in buying Hahnemann and bringing it back to what it was.

Hahnemann nurse Jenna Mechalas said Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is trying to buy Hahnemann's residency training program, which would stop any sale of the hospital.

"You get a payout for each residency slot — each slot you gain, you get a payout," she said. "What we're trying to do is put a halt to it because we have two interested buyers that are interested in keeping Hahnemann's mission and also keeping our family together.

"We want them to have these residency slots so we can continue functioning as we were prior to the closure date."

The nurses are demanding Jefferson stand down so a buyer can step up. They've reached out to Gov. Tom Wolf for help.

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Samir Sonti with the nurses union PASNAP noted each residency slot is worth at least $100,000 to the hospital.

"With 580 residency slots over there, that amounts to about $60 million a year," he explained. "Jefferson has bid $55 million for it. They'll presumably be getting $60 million a year for it into perpetuity, so they're clearly coming out in pretty good position."

He said the sale also violates federal regulations.

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is a federal agency that oversees residency programs, has objected to the sale in court," he continued.

Mechalas added that the city would suffer because Hahnemann's emergency room, located at Broad and Vine streets, is more accessible than Jefferson's, which is often surrounded by gridlock at 11th and Chestnut streets.

"Seconds matter, and I'm just looking around here and the streets are full of traffic," she said.

Jefferson said in a statement: "Jefferson Health, along with other local nonprofit academic health organizations, is proud of our efforts to keep resident physicians in Philadelphia so we can serve the underserved and provide for the future physician workforce needs of our region. We remain deeply committed to caring for our area’s patients and maintaining the region’s reputation as a destination for excellent medical training."