Training interrupted

Pennsylvania hospital bankruptcy displaces about 570 residents

The bankruptcy has resulted in the largest displacement of U.S. medical residents in a single event in history.

This story was updated on Aug. 28, 2019, with new information about financial assistance for displaced residents.

Roughly 100 DOs are among the some 570 residents and fellows looking for new training positions following the bankruptcy of Hahnemann University Hospital in Pennsylvania, which announced it would close by Sept. 6 as part of a Chapter 11 reorganization. The bankruptcy has resulted in the largest displacement of U.S. medical residents in a single event in history, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges.

Hahnemann is a teaching hospital with 35 ACGME-accredited programs. The funded residency and fellowship slots at Hahnemann are expected to be auctioned off to the highest bidder in a process approved by a bankruptcy court judge.

ACGME response

In response to the situation, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) activated its Extraordinary Circumstances Policy to facilitate the transfer of residents and fellows. ACGME compiled more than 1,300 available positions and has been sending daily reports of opportunities to Hahnemann’s GME officials to assist them with helping displaced trainees secure new positions.

However, residency funding for many of the displaced trainees is controlled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Hahnemann’s owner announced Wednesday that it would release its residents’ funding in August, Philadelphia’s NPR station reported. A lawyer representing Hahnemann’s owner said the hospital doesn’t have all of its trainees’ CMS funding because the hospital subcontracted a portion of some residents’ time to other hospitals. Programs that accept displaced residents can expect to receive about 80% of each resident’s alloted funding.

All DOs who trained at Hahnemann are advised to contact AOA at postdoc@osteopathic.org to ensure that their training is recognized for AOA board eligibility and licensure in Pennsylvania.

The AOA joined many other medical organizations in donating funds to the Philadelphia County Medical Society, which will be assisting displaced residents with relocation expenses. Displaced Hahnemann residents can apply for financial assistance for their moving costs here.

Potential purchase

Following the bankruptcy announcement, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) joined a consortium to negotiate the purchase of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, a 188-bed teaching hospital that was included in the bankruptcy. The hospital and Hahnemann University Hospital are owned by American Academic Health System (AAHS) through a local subsidiary.

“PCOM is committed to improving community health through compassionate care and a rigorous education for future healthcare providers,” said PCOM President and CEO Jay S. Feldstein, DO, in a press release. “By partnering with these like-minded institutions, we have the unique opportunity to ensure St. Christopher’s remains a sustainable entity for providing world-renowned pediatric care for patients and exceptional training for health care professionals.”

St. Christopher’s has one of the country’s busiest emergency departments for children, as well as a network of primary and specialty care locations throughout the Philadelphia suburbs and New Jersey. All consortium institutions have academic affiliations with St. Christopher’s, either for training physicians, nurses or other clinicians.

‘An asset to our community’

Displaced emergency medicine resident Alin Gragossian, DO, wrote about Hahnemann on her blog.

“Our hospital (a tertiary care center in the heart of inner-city Philadelphia) caters to tens of thousands of (mostly underprivileged and uninsured) people per year— it’s a safety net hospital here,” she wrote. “An asset to our community.

“I am so sorry to all of our patients. But it was an honor to be your doctor for the 2.5 years that I worked there. You taught me so much and you let me take care of you. Thank you.”

Related reading:

What residents are getting paid in 2019

He resigned from residency. Then the HRSA fined him $1 million. Here’s what happened next.

2 comments

  1. The greedy venture capitalists running healthcare wins again. All at the expense of patients, the community and physicians who take care of them. They have figured out that the hospital stands on a prime property that they would rather use for pricy real estate buildings.

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