Chester County Hospital to receive state funding to expand capacity01/26/2022 12:15PM ● By Steven Hoffman
State Sen. Carolyn Comitta, State Rep. Christina Sappey, and State Rep. Dianne Herrin announced that they have secured more than $2.1 million in total state funding to support expanding inpatient and emergency department capacity at Chester County Hospital.
The funding, made available through the federal American Rescue Plan, comes at a crucial time as communities across the county face Tower Health’s decision to close Jennersville Hospital in southern Chester County and impending plans to close Brandywine Hospital in the Coatesville area at the end of this month.
Comitta, who serves on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said the funds will significantly help Chester County Hospital and its emergency department deal with an expected influx of patients due to the closures.
“These are vital and timely investments in our public healthcare and emergency care infrastructure in Chester County – investments that were especially needed in emergency and behavioral health even before the pandemic and well before Tower abruptly announced the hospital closures,” Comitta said. “Of course, both those factors substantially added to the urgency and severity of the situation. Fortunately, we were able to respond quickly to access additional resources and are working to expedite the projects.”
“The growing mental health crisis and its increasing burden on law enforcement and hospitals is a major concern, so I’m particularly pleased that we were able to access this funding to help Chester County Hospital expand its behavioral health treatment area,” Sappey said. “Chester County Hospital has a longstanding tradition of service to our community and they are the right group at the right time to utilize this funding.”
“Chester County Hospital stepped up and helped lead our community through the pandemic from day one, providing vaccinations and emergency services that we very much needed,” said state Rep. Herrin. “This financial support is so well deserved, as the hospital now faces growing urgent care and mental health demands resulting from the new COVID-19 variants and the closure of the two Tower Health facilities. This will further our collective goal to ensure high-quality care for all of our residents.”
The state funding includes the following:
~ $1.4 million for Chester County Hospital to expand its emergency department capacity. The funds will build upon a project that is currently underway to increase its emergency room from 33 to 46 bays. Funds will also be used to construct a special behavioral health treatment area in the emergency department.
~ $775,000 for Chester County Hospital to restore 42 in-patient beds that were decommissioned when the hospital opened its new Pavilion in the spring of 2020. The funds will support purchasing new equipment and recruiting and acquiring the staff necessary to return the remaining beds to operation in about one to two months.
“At Chester County Hospital, our mission is to serve the health care needs of all who come to us for care,” said Michael J. Duncan, president and CEO. “Never in our history has our role been so significant. We are grateful for the support and partnership of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our local government leaders as we work to advance our mission and care for our community.”
The lawmakers also thanked Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan for her support of the American Rescue Plan Act, which is providing billions of dollars in COVID-19 federal relief to the Commonwealth, as well as Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee Chair Vincent Hughes and House Democratic Appropriations Committee Chair Matt Bradford for their work and that of their staffs in accessing this vital support for Chester County residents and families.
"At a time when our community is experiencing hospital closures in southern Chester County and increased hospitalizations due to COVID-19, this couldn't be more welcome news,” said Houlahan. "When the House passed the American Rescue Plan in March of last year, this is exactly the type of community investment I voted for. Senator Comitta, Representative Sappey, and Representative Herrin are tireless advocates for the people of Chester County, and we stand united in celebrating these federal funds that will expand medical services, including mental health, for countless Pennsylvanians.”
Comitta said the investments in more emergency and hospital beds and more treatment availability for those with behavioral health issues will help save lives and manage a potential increase in patients as officials keep working toward a long-term solution for Jennersville and Brandywine Hospitals and the many residents and families who rely on them.
She, Sappey, and Herrin also indicated that they, along with county officials and fellow members of the bipartisan state legislative delegation, continue to work diligently toward a sustainable solution for both hospitals.