ChristianaCare plans to operate ‘micro hospital’ at Jennersville site in 2024

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ChristianaCare confirmed Tuesday that it will operate a small hospital at its West Grove Campus, formerly Jennersville Hospital.

ChristianaCare will open a neighborhood “micro hospital” with ten emergency department and ten inpatient beds. The neighborhood hospital will offer emergency care, behavioral health emergency care and diagnostic capabilities including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), X-ray, and laboratory services.

The hospital plan may come as a surprise to some, given the costs of operations. However, the Chester County community, including first responders, cited the need for a full-time emergency department. The area around the hospital also has a large number of retirees from DuPont and other employers.

Farley

ChristianaCare has experience in emergency care, including a regional trauma center near Newark and a satellite facility in Middletown, the largest city in Delaware without a hospital. Delaware’s largest hospital system also operates a smaller hospital in Elkton, MD.

Other hospitals in Chester County and the Newark Campus require longer drives. ChristianaCare does have a helicopter service that can transport seriously ill patients to the Newark campus.

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The emergency department will treat common care needs such as falls, injuries, heart attacks, and strokes. Additionally, through virtual consults, the hospital will benefit from access to ChristianaCare’s network of specialists and support services — such as neurology and cardiology.

“We are excited to share our plans to restore important, local health care resources to the southern Chester County community,” said Janice Nevin, M.D ChristianaCare CEO. “We are committed to our neighbors in southern Chester County for the long-term, serving them as expert, caring partners in their health.”

ChristianaCare’s plans for a neighborhood hospital meet the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s requirements for a micro-hospital, which must have a minimum of 10 inpatient beds and 10 emergency department treatment rooms and offer imaging services onsite.

“After listening to the needs of the community and an extensive review of historical and projected demographic data, we believe this neighborhood hospital model will provide the right mix of health care services for the West Grove Campus in a way that is sustainable and meets the community’s most immediate needs today, and it also sets us up to grow in meeting more of the community’s needs in the future,” said Heather Farley, M.D., chief wellness officer for ChristianaCare and the clinical leader for the West Grove planning.

ChristianaCare anticipates an opening date in late 2024, although the date is subject to change due to the work that will be required to renovate the facility to bring it up to current standards, including the build-out of an entirely new information technology infrastructure. The former owner of the hospital left little usable equipment behind.

Last year, ChristianaCare received funding from Chester County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvaniatotaling $5 million to assist in facility upgrades.

ChristianaCare already serves residents of southern Chester County. Since 2020, ChristianaCare has provided primary care in three practices in Jennersville, West Grove and Kennett Square. The West Grove practice has recently brought on additional providers and will soon begin offering virtual visits with ChristianaCare specialists. The three practices are now the “medical home” for 22,000 residents in these communities.

ChristianaCare completed the purchase of its West Grove campus from Tower Health in June 2022. The hospital has been closed since Dec. 31, 2021.

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