Chesco judge orders Tower Health to resume sale of Jennersville, Brandywine hospitals

Citing harm to the Chesco community, a judge ruled in favor of the company that had been set to buy the two hospitals until Tower Health abruptly canceled the deal.

The exterior of Jennersville Hospital in West Grove

Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, Pa. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A Chester County Court of Common Pleas judge on Monday ordered Tower Health to restart the process of selling the shuttered Jennersville and Brandywine hospitals to Canyon Atlantic Partners LLC.

The original deal struck between the two companies in November collapsed the following month. At the time, a Tower Health spokesperson said Canyon had “not demonstrated the necessary regulatory and operational preparedness, nor validated its financial ability, to complete this transaction.” Jennersville ultimately closed in December in what some warned could be the makings of a “health care desert” in Chester County.

Canyon first asked for an injunction on Jan. 19, arguing Tower had violated the terms of their previous agreement by scratching the deal without advanced notice. Then, Brandywine Hospital closed on Jan. 31, leaving some community members pessimistic that either facility would return.

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Now, Judge Edward Griffith has resuscitated hope that the two hospitals could open their doors once again. In his 10-page order obtained by the Daily Local News, Griffith wrote that Canyon’s legal argument was justified. Citing harm to Canyon and the Chester County community, he deemed Tower’s cancellation of the deal as “null and void.”

“The hospitals are critically important to their local communities,” Griffith wrote, according to the newspaper. “The impact of the hospital closures spreads beyond the local community. Neighboring hospitals will be overburdened rendering health resources scarcer to a greater community.”

This move essentially revives the initial sale agreement.

When asked for comment on the judge’s ruling and what the next steps will be, a Tower Health spokesperson said the company declined to comment until it had reviewed the ruling.

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Griffith has granted Canyon 90 days to coordinate with Tower what it needs to do to complete the sale, according to the Daily Local. The company has also been ordered to post a $1 million bond within 10 days.

While Tower is being ordered to “maintain and preserve” the current state of the hospitals, the recent closures of both hospitals present a significant and costly hurdle to reopening them.

The Chester County Medical Society, which intervened in the case in support of Canyon, will hold a virtual press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the ruling.

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