ChristianaCare aims to buy shuttered hospital from Tower Health

The Delaware-based system is buying Jennersville Hospital, which closed its doors Dec. 31. Executives say they haven’t decided what services will be available.

Nearly six months after Jennersville Hospital closed its doors, the shuttered facility appears to have a new lease on life.

ChristianaCare announced last week that it is purchasing the hospital in the Philadelphia suburbs from Tower Health. Jennersville Hospital has been closed since Dec. 31, 2021, and local officials have been striving to find someone to re-open the hospital.

ChristianaCare, based in Delaware, said it expects to close the deal within 30 to 60 days. ChristianaCare is also buying Tower Health’s interest in two office buildings and a 24-acre tract of land.

The hospital is going to be renamed ChristianaCare West Grove Campus.

Janice E. Nevin, ChristianaCare president and CEO, said the system saw an opportunity - and a need - for more healthcare services in Chester County.

“At ChristianaCare, we recognize that the closing of Jennersville Hospital represented a loss of access to important health care services in the surrounding community,” Nevin said in a statement.

“ChristianaCare already serves many members of the Southern Chester County community in our hospitals and practices," Nevin said. "We look forward to working with community leaders, listening and evaluating needs, and re-establishing the right mix of health care services at this location.”

At this point, it’s not clear what healthcare services will be offered at the hospital, said Jennifer Schwartz, ChristianaCare’s chief strategy officer. It’s also unclear when the hospital can reopen.

“We are exploring what is possible,” Schwartz said in a statement.

“We know that the loss of the emergency services because of the closing of Jennersville Hospital is a significant concern of the community, and that’s definitely something that we’re discussing,” she said. “Our priority right now is to talk with community leaders and listen to the community, so that we can develop a plan that meets their needs.”

Tower Health closed two hospitals in the Philadelphia region, Jennersville and Brandywine hospitals, after a deal to sell the hospitals to Canyon Atlantic Partners dissolved. Tower Health said Canyon Atlantic didn’t demonstrate the financial ability to complete the deal.

Canyon Atlantic later won a court ruling to spur Tower to renew the sale agreement, but ultimately abandoned its effort to acquire the hospitals in March. Brandywine Hospital closed Jan. 31.

Tower, which is struggling with serious financial challenges after an ill-fated expansion, is still searching for a buyer for Brandywine.

ChristianaCare, which operates three hospitals in Delaware and Pennsylvania, has been looking to expand its presence in Pennsylvania. ChristianaCare signed a letter of intent in February to acquire Crozer Health and its four Philadelphia-area hospitals from Prospect Medical Holdings.

In its announcement of the purchase of Jennersville Hospital, ChristianCare said the due diligence of the deal to buy Crozer Health is ongoing. If regulators give their approval, ChristianaCare has said the deal could be closed in the second half of 2022.

Prospect, a for-profit system, purchased Crozer Health in 2016. If the deal comes together and regulators give their approval, ChristianaCare has said it will transition Crozer Health into nonprofit status.

For now, local officials are welcoming the news that the former Jennersville Hospital is going to be reopened.

After the deal was announced, U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat who represents Chester County, wrote on Twitter, “This is welcome news for our community as we ensure southern Chester County has accessible and affordable care.”

Michelle H. Kichline, chairwoman of Chester County’s board of commissioners, said in a video announcement, “ChristianaCare is well known, well regarded, and we are really, really excited about this new partnership.”

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