The Hahnemann University Hospital Closure and What Matters: A Department Chair’s Perspective

My invited commentary on what happened to us at Hahnemann.

The Hahnemann University Hospital Closure and What Matters: A Department Chair’s Perspective


Even today, and I suspect for years, the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital will continue to have heartbreaking consequences. Physicians, nurses, and staff are all still enduring the after effects of the dissolution of our mission and purpose at Broad & Vine – to make our patient’s lives better. Lifelong relationships with our patients and our co-workers were shattered. Teachers and learners split apart. Ongoing personal financial losses continue for everyone that worked there  – especially for the physicians and other providers who were not provided malpractice tail coverage and now may need to purchase a policy out of their own pocket. This photo is from the last day that we were all together. Hahnemann Emergency Medicine was a special place, like no other, and I miss it badly.

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Click on the link below for the article in Academic Medicine and my thoughts on the matter and a timeline of events.

The Hahnemann University Hospital Closure and What Matters: A Department Chair’s Perspective


Abstract: The closure of Hahnemann University Hospital (HUH), which was announced on June 26, 2019, resulted in the most significant graduate medical education displacement in history, sending 570 residents to new institutions within a month of the announcement. Over 2,000 physicians, nurses, and staff lost their jobs. While seemingly predictable in retrospect, the closure came as a cataclysmic event to all involved. In this Invited Commentary, a Department Chair reflects on the lessons learned from these unprecedented circumstances. These lessons cover areas that are not a typical concern for faculty who are focused on teaching their trainees, but are worthy of their attention. Corporate and organizational structure, leadership, and financing of the hospital were critical determining characteristics of the failure. The role that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services played in this event were key stabilizers. However, their role in future events offer opportunities to play a more active role and alter how the next massive displacement unfolds, possibly preserving teaching programs. Highly competitive health systems should rethink non-collaborative strategies before allowing struggling institutions to succumb to market forces. Finally, a commitment by a hospital to the mission of academic medicine is a sacred trust with the faculty, trainees, and patients that it serves. It should not be undertaken by any enterprise that is not well resourced and equipped with the knowledge and expertise to meet this most serious of commitments.