Tower ‘Reshaping’; Local Hospitals Remain Unchanged

WEST READING PA – Financially struggling Tower Health plans to “reshape” itself as a health system by closing its Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, Chester County, and selling its Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia along with “more than a dozen” of its Urgent Care locations, the non-profit said Tuesday (Sept. 28, 2021). Both actions were approved by Tower’s board of directors last week, it added.

Tower also said its restructuring “announcement does not impact Reading Hospital, Phoenixville Hospital, Pottstown Hospital, Tower Health at Home, or Tower Health’s remaining urgent care locations.”

Closing the Jennersville facility, targeted for Jan. 1 (2022), is expected to begin quickly but in “an orderly process,” Tower said, with the hospital and emergency department remaining open until the deadline. Tower added it hoped to place affected employees into other positions for which they qualify within its own facilities, or through its earlier announced “strategic alliance” with Penn Medicine.

The Chestnut Hill sale is somewhat tentative. Tower and Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, which operates three hospitals in southeast Pennsylvania and one in Delaware, have signed “a non-binding letter of intent … to evaluate and plan for” transferring it and some surrounding Urgent Care centers at a so-far-undisclosed price.

Still to be decided is the future of Tower’s Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, also Chester County. The company said it “is continuing to evaluate options to determine and define” what will happen with it “in a way that best meets community needs.”

Tower Health for now will continue to operate St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, “while working with local and state agencies and organizations to help secure its long-term future,” it said. It described that facility as “a vital healthcare resource for some of the region’s most vulnerable populations.”

It also will continue with the Drexel University College of Medicine’s new campus in Wyomissing, Tower said.

Locally, Tower’s statements about Pottstown and Phoenixville hospitals seemed to represent good news for western Montgomery and northern Chester county residents, as did its continuance of Tower At Home, with which the former Visiting Nurse Association of Pottstown and Vicinity merged in 2018. It is unknown which, if any, of Tower’s Urgent Care units in Oaks, Limerick, North Coventry, Douglassville, and Gilbertsville might be affected.

“These decisions were made after an intensive process by which Tower’s board sought to balance long-term sustainability and impact upon our team and the communities we serve. Opportunities for our employees to work at other Tower Health facilities or at Penn Medicine were important to the board and leadership,” said Tower board of director Chair Tom Work.

“While we have made considerable progress and are in a stronger financial and operational position than we were last year, we must make additional tough decisions that will firmly establish our health system for decades to come,” Tower President and CEO P. Sue Perrotty added. She characterized the changes as “a new chapter for Tower Health; one that reduces uncertainty about our future.”

Photos by The Posts