Tower Health closing two hospitals after deal fizzles

Tower Health on Thursday said it will close two hospitals in southeastern Pennsylvania after its deal with an Austin-based turnaround firm fell through.

The West Reading, Pennsylvania-based hospital system will shutter Jennersville Hospital in West Grove at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31 and Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville at 11:50 p.m. Jan. 31.

In late November, Tower Health had said it had signed a deal with Canyon Atlantic Partners to assume ownership of the two acute-care hospitals on Jan. 1. However, on Thursday Tower Health said, “Canyon Atlantic Partners has ultimately not demonstrated the necessary regulatory and operational preparedness, nor validated its financial ability to complete this transaction and operate these hospitals.”

Canyon Atlantic Partners could not be reached for comment.

Josh Maxwell, county commissioner of Chester County, where the two hospitals are located, called the closure of the two hospitals a “tragedy in management” via Twitter.

“They haven’t been prepared to run the hospital effectively or find a buyer,” Maxwell said in an interview. “Lives are going to be put at risk because these folks got in over their heads.”

Maxwell said when Tower Health acquired the hospitals in 2017, the system made investments in the buildings that it couldn’t recoup. The system has faced financial difficulty since then, putting itself up for sale this summer before forming a strategic alliance with nearby Penn Medicine. In late September, Tower Health first announced it was going to close Jennersville Hospital on Jan. 1, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported, but later reversed that decision when the deal with Canyon Atlantic Partners was signed.

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“For 16 months, Tower Health pursued every viable option to secure the future of Brandywine and Jennersville Hospitals, including extensive exploration of potential new owners,” the system said in a news release. The system said “no viable options” remained to continue operating the two sites.

In an emailed statement, Tower Health said it will work to transition as many of the 534 employees at Jennersville Hospital and 253 employees at Brandywine Hospital to other positions within the system. Tower Health also said Penn Medicine will offer priority consideration to affected employees who apply for open positions in its footprint.

Maxwell said he is working with other healthcare providers in the area to put together a list of open positions for the affected employees and is looking at options for how to provide Chester County residents with transportation to other sites for emergency and acute care.

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