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Chester County Press

Jennersville Hospital closure alarms Oxford Borough officials

10/11/2021 10:24PM ● By Steven Hoffman

The announcement of the planned closure of Tower Health’s Jennersville Hospital and emergency room set off an alarm with Oxford Borough Council on Monday night. Council fears for its residents during medical emergencies. Ware Village, numerous adult communities and multiple school districts are being served by the hospital and its emergency room. 

Council member Dick Winchester spoke about a recent personal medical emergency involving a loved one saying, Tthe care my loved one received at Jennersville saved her life. She was then sent on to Christiana Hospital, but I’m not sure what the outcome would have been if not for Jennersville.”

Winchester was not the only council member to voice his disbelief that this hospital/emergency room would close so abruptly without a plan to take care of the community. A hospital/emergency room has been at the location in Penn Township since 1959. 

 The hospital’s closure at the end of the year has left many residents in Chester County wondering where they will go for emergency care.

The closest hospitals with trauma centers are at Christiana Hospital in Delaware or Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pa.

Gary Vinnacombe, who has been deputy chief of the Emergency Medical Services for two years said, “I heard the news and was as shocked as everyone, but we went into action mode to figure out what we will do. We are in the process of publishing an impact report which will objectively analyze data from three years, to see what it will look like to go to other hospitals. Our goal is to figure out a projected model so we can understand our response, and establish a path forward,” he said.

Vinnacombe added, “The volume won’t go up, but  the demand for service will, because it will take longer. Calls that would typically take 45 minutes could now take 2 1/2 hours,” he explained.

Vinnacombe said the report would be completed this week.

“Obviously, we want to promote awareness in the area,” he said. It’s not just about longer transport times. We are going to be impacted by weather. We have to look at the big picture and account for things like a blizzard, flooding or a tornado. We need to capture that in one document.”

Borough Council was also visited by Luis Tovar, chair of the Kennett Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (ACOLA), who updated Council on their impact in the southern Chester County community.

“Our Hispanic residents have issues everywhere from Nottingham to Kennett Square and many places in between,” Tovar explained. “We have been in place for five years.  We estimate that 52 percent of the population in the Kennett area is Hispanic. We deal with issues such as housing, transportation, employment and medical care. We work very closely with the Borough Council in Kennett Square.  ACOLA, operates just like Council with monthly meetings and under Roberts Rules of Order. We feel we have worked well with the Council and are building a stronger community. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Tovar told council that ACOLA is a resource in the community, providing short-term housing and medical assistance. They are not paid. They are volunteers who attend meetings and engage with the community.

“Sometimes it is difficult and emotional,” he said. “We recently worked with individuals in Avondale who were impacted with the recent flooding that left 135 families displaced.”

On a lighter note borough council announced that Halloween trick or treating will be held on Oct. 31 between the hours of 6 to 8 p.m. Additional information can be found on the borough website.

In other business Public Works Director John Schaible said the flooding at S. Third and Hodgson Streets should be alleviated. A pipe was replaced in that area. He also added that building continues in Sycamore Crossing, and new homes have been hooked up to the waterline.

The N. Fifth Street maintenance in the area of the railroad, is moving forward and a bid could be approved at the Oct. 18 council meeting.

Schaible also said rain barrels have been received through grant money. Anyone who wants to receive one should contact the Public Works Department.

It was also announced that Brian Dix was recently appointed Director of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. Dix told council that the Shoebox Theatre should be completed the first of the new year.