Hospital buyer still owes $20 million, Crozer-Keystone Community Foundation contends

     Members of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals  rally during contract negotiations in March. (PASNAP)

    Members of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals rally during contract negotiations in March. (PASNAP)

    The former owner of a hospital system in Delaware County is suing its new owner.

    The nonprofit Crozer-Keystone Community Foundation contends it’s been shorted more than $20 million by Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., the private equity-owned entity that bought the suburban Philadelphia hospital chain last year.

    Wednesday morning, nurses protested outside the Delaware County Courthouse as a hearing in the case took place inside.

    “This has been prospect’s MO — they talk a good story, and then they don’t deliver on what they’re going to do,” said Tammy Christianson, a nurse at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, one of four suburban Philadelphia hospitals to change hands in the sale.

    During contract negotiations, nurses complained of unsafe staffing levels and low morale. After a new contract was signed in April, they have continued to protest. Recently, they claimed one nurse was assaulted at Delaware County Memorial Hospital — and that the hospital was inadequately staffed to respond.

    Frances Sheehan, president of Crozer-Keystone Community Foundation, said Prospect was supposed to pay $53 million toward the establishment of a nonprofit countywide health foundation.

    “Right now, we are asking for the $21 million that we are short from the estimated purchase price,” she said. “We believe that the actual purchase price will be a higher amount.”

    For its part, the new owner is fighting that claim, saying its has paid in full.

    “Prospect strongly believes that it has met all its obligations under the asset-purchase agreement,” said Grant Gegwich, a spokesman for the hospital system, in an email.

    About 10 nurses rallied for half an hour in Media, Delaware Couinty, Wednesday morning.

    Both parties are due back in Delaware County Orphans Court, which presided over the sale, on Thursday.

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