DELAWARE COUNTY, PA – November 2023 – Last year, we recommended for-profit healthcare reform. Now, we demand it with greater urgency than ever before. The impending sale of Crozer Health by Prospect Medical Holdings is a wake-up call, and we reiterate the importance of comprehensive reform. We agree with the need for new ownership at Crozer and support the agreement secured by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office that requires a transparent sales process. The process is one we believe we can trust and signifies a positive step toward a more accountable and ethical healthcare system. However, this is a reminder of why the Pennsylvania legislature must enact comprehensive reform to protect our local healthcare systems from predatory practices and unaccountable private equity firms.

To address this critical issue, we, the Delaware County Senate delegation, reintroduced legislation this year that aims to provide the state with enhanced oversight and to safeguard our healthcare systems. We initially made this call in 2022 in response to several distressing incidents involving PMH in the past two years. The repercussions of profit-driven decisions are evident, with hospitals closing, healthcare staff being laid off, and access to vital medical services diminishing.

This is not an isolated problem limited to Delaware County. Financial challenges and hospital closures are impacting both rural and urban municipalities across our Commonwealth. From the closure of Hahnemann Hospital in 2019 to the recent shutdown of Berwick Hospital Center in Columbia County, the consequences of profit-driven decisions are clear. The cost of care has risen, and the availability of essential health services has declined.

When profit takes precedence over people, our communities suffer. Hospitals shutter, healthcare workers lose their jobs, and crucial medical services disappear. We have witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects of these predatory, for-profit healthcare systems. Over 215 dedicated nurses and staff were laid off at Crozer Health this year, leaving our communities without access to affordable and local healthcare options. This not only affects patients but also places additional strain on the remaining nursing staff, leaving them feeling unsupported and undervalued. This cycle cannot continue.

As elected officials, it is our duty to establish the standard for healthcare practices in Pennsylvania. We must prioritize patient care over corporate greed and profits. The current system allows corporate executives to make decisions solely based on the bottom line, disregarding the well-being of the patients and communities they serve. We refuse to accept this exploitation.

Our legislative package tackles the root causes of these issues. We have introduced three Senate bills that aim to combat predatory practices and protect public-facing hospitals. Senate Bill 546 seeks to prohibit for-profit hospitals, preventing healthcare systems from being acquired solely for profit. Senate Bill 547 aims to establish a minimum severance requirement for mass layoffs, ensuring that healthcare staff are not left in dire circumstances. Lastly, Senate Bill 548 focuses on preventing harmful healthcare deals that undermine the stability and integrity of our healthcare systems.

We understand that stronger legislation and state protections could have prevented the closure of hospitals and the financial collapse of healthcare systems. That is why we are committed to granting the state greater authority in reviewing hospital mergers, real estate sale-leasebacks, major equity changes, and other transactions that weaken health systems and lead to closures. By discouraging unethical companies from plundering our healthcare systems and evading accountability, we can protect the integrity of all Pennsylvania healthcare systems.

It is time we reform for-profit healthcare. We cannot afford any further delays. The sale of Crozer Health is a compelling wake-up call that demands immediate attention. We must prioritize the well-being of our constituents over corporate interests. Let us unite, transcending party lines, and enact comprehensive legislation that safeguards our healthcare systems, protects patients, and ensures the integrity of Pennsylvania’s healthcare infrastructure.

As the Delaware County Senate delegation, we are fully committed to this cause. We urge our fellow lawmakers to join us in enacting meaningful reform. Together, we can build a healthcare system that prioritizes patients and guarantees a healthier future for all Pennsylvanians.


Op-ed penned by the Delaware County Senate Delegation: Senators Amanda Cappelletti, John Kane, Tim Kearney, and Anthony H. Williams