Crozer Health, a health system serving Pennsylvania’s Delaware County and region, announced various changes Wednesday, including that Delaware County Memorial Hospital will switch to a behavioral health institution by spring 2023.

Other hospitals owned by the company will also be modified to “provide healthcare access and services based on post-pandemic operational realities and community needs,” Crozer said in a press release. “Crozer Health’s new service offerings will align with patient-centric care, focused on essential services, and expanded behavioral health care access and services.”

“Members of Delaware County Council met with senior leaders of Crozer Health on September 20, 2022, to learn of their reorganizational plan,” said Adrienne Marofsky, a spokeswoman for Delaware County.  “The plan includes elements that are responsive to the needs of County residents. However, there is a range of unanswered questions, including what role Crozer Health’s for-profit corporate parent, Prospect Medical Holdings, will play.  While this plan aims to stabilize the system, Council is concerned that the proposed plan may limit access to health care in the eastern Delaware County communities,” she said.

“The health and safety of residents is a main priority to council, and the county will continue its focus on ensuring that a wide range of health services and options remain available to Delaware County residents. All residents deserve access to quality healthcare,” she said.

The plan will require approval by the Department of Health and other agencies before implementation.

The plan highlights include:  Crozer Health’s Springfield campus will begin serving as an outpatient facility by the end of 2022. This will provide the community with a variety of outpatient services. These will include urgent care, advanced surgical care, and outpatient services ranging from rehabilitation to diagnostic imaging. The campus will continue hosting primary and specialty care physician group practices.

At Delaware County Memorial Hospital campus in Drexel Hill more than 100 patient beds will be dedicated to behavioral health services, including a crisis care unit, inpatient acute psychiatric care, acute detox/rehabilitation, and geropsychiatry/senior behavioral health. All other services, including the former Emergency Department, will be discontinued within 60 days to begin renovations for this transformation.

“This opening of behavioral health beds and services will aid in the behavioral health crisis in the county and the region,” the release said

Crozer-Chester Medical Center campus in Upland will continue as the system’s academic and tertiary center for advanced clinical care.

“We are committed to caring for those facing acute medical care needs in a variety of areas through our Level II Trauma Center, Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center, Neurosciences Institute, women’s health/obstetrics services, and Level III neonatal intensive care,” the release said. “Here, our highly qualified doctors, nurses, and care teams provide the highest quality care for a wide range of acute care medical and surgical conditions. As a teaching hospital and regional medical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine, our physicians train the next generation of healthcare providers through our residency programs, fellowships, and allied health programs.

“The campus also hosts an ambulatory care pavilion and professional office building with primary care and specialty care group practices,” the release said.

Taylor Hospital campus in Ridley Park will continue to serve the community focusing on excellent patient experience and outcomes. The campus has a busy emergency department, robust inpatient rehabilitation unit and adult inpatient medical and surgical services, and intensive care.

Crozer Health Medical Group, the employed medical group of Crozer Health, will continue to focus on population health initiatives to improve the health of patients and the community. The medical group will coordinate an aggressive recruitment effort to align with these essential services and population health-based planning and implementation including additional primary care and behavioral health providers and staff, the release said.

“What we’ve done is assess what those needs are in partnership with physicians, the community, and local leaders,” said Crozer Health CEO Anthony Esposito. “Through this engagement, we determined that access to community-based, high-quality, safe, and effective services are key to being responsive to the community while also addressing the changing nature of healthcare today.”

“We’ve looked at how we can provide better access to care for our patients, especially the most vulnerable, while not ignoring the pressures hospitals are facing in this post-pandemic world. We will refine alternate care models and technology to enhance this access, “said Dina Capalongo, DO, MBA, Crozer Health’s Chief Medical Officer.

Nathan Okechukwu, MD, Crozer Health’s President of Clinical Operations and Chair, Department of Medicine, added: “Our Crozer Health hospitals, behavioral health facilities, and outpatient campus services will remain accessible when and where it counts with a focus to timely and highly reliable care.”

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