I was dismayed and disgusted when I heard that Tower Health was going to close Brandywine Hospital on Jan. 31, along with Jennersville Hospital on Dec. 31, due to the company’s gross negligence and betrayal of the public trust. These closures will negatively impact the lives of more than 100,000 Chester County residents – including all who live in the 74th District. Additionally, we will lose our only inpatient behavioral health facility in the region. Most troubling is that this horrible situation has been caused by unfettered corporate greed incompetently administering a vital community asset.
As the state representative for the 74th District, I had been working with state, county, and local authorities to help keep Brandywine Hospital open. During these discussions we had been assured by Tower that a closure was not imminent. When news that these hospitals were being sold broke, Tower again clearly told us the behavioral health facility at Brandywine would remain open. Tower’s abrupt announcement of an about-face leaves us scrambling to find an 11th hour solution to clean up their mess.
As a member of the community, the losses I truly fear are the compounding impacts of a lack of nearby hospital care.
You will have to travel further for emergency care when every minute is critical. Will you get there in time?
Those who suffer from mental illness will lose the one place you could receive inpatient treatment in the region. Will this closure mean you don’t get the life-saving help you need?
Hospitals are once again reaching full capacity with COVID-19 cases. Where will people go for care with even fewer beds available?
Our local EMS responders and volunteer ambulance crews will lose lives while in transit because the distance to the nearest emergency room is just too far. Will they be back in time for us when we need them if they must travel further?
At a time when being poor correlates with poor health, the greatest losses will be endured by those with the greatest health care needs and financial needs. The timeline of these closures makes the situation that much worse. I worry about the hospital employees who will be getting a pink slip for Christmas due to the incompetence and base cruelty of Tower Health’s executives.
Both hospitals are economic engines of our local economy, enabling businesses — from healthcare companies to pharmacies and clinics to local pizza places – to thrive. The hospitals’ closures will devastate many of them. These business’ losses will translate into loss of sales tax revenues and will create price increases for all of us at a time when we don’t need it.
I will continue to work with our local, county, and state officials to find a viable alternative solution. We are dedicated to finding a way to keep Brandywine Hospital open, but Tower’s last-minute “white flag” leaves us with precious little time to find a solution to this dire situation.