Reopening emergency services department top priority list as supply chain issues linger
ChristianaCare has no firm timeline in place for the opening a health care site at the former Jennersville Hospital.
Delaware’s largest health care system acquired the Chester County, PA hospital in June. The hospital, owned by financially troubled Tower Health, closed at the end of 2021.
A meeting was recently held with business leaders at the Herr’s snack foods factory in Chester County on the status of the hospital site.
ChristianaCare officials told those in attendance the emergency department and medical office in Middletown will be a model for the hospital site now known as the ChristianaCare West Grove Campus.
Earlier meetings have revealed a strong interest in reopening an emergency center, with the closest large hospitals in West Chester and at Christiana’s Newark Campus.
“As a nonprofit health system, we have a mission of service to our neighbors—and you are our neighbors. We are honored and so excited to be here to support your health needs in southern Chester County,” said Douglas Azar, ChristianaCare senior vice president, Strategic Clinical Integration.
After a brief overview of ChristianaCare, Azar addressed the two biggest questions – What are you going to do with the West Grove Campus, and when will it open?
“It continues to come up time and again in our discussions with the community that the most urgent need is emergency care. That’s our first priority,” Azar told the group.
Azar said ChristianaCare plans to take a phased approach to development at the campus with the intent to include emergency services in the first phase, with plans to be finanalized this fall.
ChristianaCare opened a freestanding emergency department in Middletown and learned a great deal over the years about outlying campuses.
Middletown has a population approaching 25,000 and is the largest town in the state without a hospital.
“Middletown is a fantastic facility that is really beloved by the Middletown community. It’s a great model, and there are many learnings from that model that are informing our planning for West Grove. However, the West Grove Campus will be unique, and we are using all of the good information we’ve heard over the past several months to create a care model and structure that will best meet this community’s needs,” Azar said.
While he said it’s too early to know when services will open at the West Grove Campus, it’s unlikely that it will be within the next 12 months, ChristianaCare officials said.
Azar noted that the health care system will be starting from scratch at West Grove. Other than some hospital beds and other equipment, the site has no information technology or laboratory equipment. Further complicating the situation are lingering supply chain issues in refitting the site.
Several participants cited the need for behavioral health and addiction treatment services in the community, and the ChristianaCare leaders acknowledged that these are on the list of priorities for this campus, although likely not in phase one.
Several members of the audience spoke as business owners about challenges related to workers’ compensation care, which was a topic that the ChristianaCare representatives said they hadn’t heard in previous discussions.
Audience members also cited an aging community and the need for services that support older adults. The former hospital’s service area has a large number of retirees from DuPont, Hercules, and other employers.
(Based on a story/release from ChristianaCare)