Tower Health to sell shuttered Brandywine Hospital to Penn Medicine

Tower Health and Penn Medicine signed a letter of intent that would allow Penn to acquire Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville.

A sign outside Brandywine Hospital

Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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Tower Health is selling Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville to Penn Medicine — a welcomed sight for Chester County residents, who have been down two functioning hospitals for over a year.

“​​Tower Health is pleased to have signed a Letter of Intent for Penn Medicine to acquire the former Brandywine Hospital campus. This is a very positive outcome. We wish our colleagues at Penn Medicine great success,” a Tower Health spokesperson said in a written statement Tuesday night.

Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline released a joint statement, crediting state and federal partners, support from local emergency medical service workers, and other hospitals in the county.

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“Penn Medicine already provides top hospital and health care services in Chester County, and the expansion of that investment to the Coatesville and surrounding area is tremendous news — and certainly cause to celebrate! As Penn Medicine completes their due diligence, we will support their efforts in reimagining healthcare access to everyone in Western Chester County,” the statement read.

Penn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tower shuttered Jennersville Hospital in December 2021 and Brandywine Hospital just one month later after a deal to sell the facilities to Austin, Texas, based hospital management firm, Canyon Atlantic Partners LLC, fell through. The relatively quick decision to cut the lights in both medical centers caught community members and elected officials off guard — and created a health care desert in Chester County.

As a result, reaching emergency care has become a difficult task. A year later, ambulance rides in Chester County have grown dangerously long. In the midst of depleted medical care, drama also unfolded between Tower and Canyon.

Canyon attempted to renew its bid to acquire both Jennersville and Brandywine via a lawsuit, however, Tower raised serious concerns about the firm’s financial viability. Canyon eventually dropped its month-long legal fight. Tower expressed a sense of optimism to WHYY News in March 2022 that the end of the lawsuit opened the door for it to find new potential buyers.

ChristianaCare purchased Jennersville from Tower back in June 2022. The Wilmington-based hospital system plans on opening the West Grove Campus as a micro-hospital in late 2024.

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But despite all of the recent announcements regarding Jennersville’s future, the news surrounding Brandywine had been relatively quiet until now.

Penn Medicine reaches partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan visited Philadelphia on Tuesday to help unveil a new partnership between University of Pennsylvania Health System and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to bolster health care for Chester County veterans.

“For the first time in the history of the country, we’ve been able to create a public and private partnership between an academic institution and the VA. And the academic institution is Penn and Penn Hospital and of course, the VA is our nation’s health care provider for our veterans,” Houlahan told WHYY News.

Houlahan called the news a “really exciting development for Coatesville in particular.” She said the two organizations signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding, which was only possible because of the passage of the PACT Act.

While Houlahan said veterans love the Coatesville VA Medical Center, she said the infrastructure is reminiscent of the 1930s and “not necessarily one that’s amenable to modernization.”

“It is an opportunity to create … space that the VA would rent from Penn, and Penn would be able to provide upgraded facilities and infrastructure and the VA would still be able to provide their staff to be able to help our veterans,” Houlahan said.

It appears as though this partnership played a role in Penn’s interest in acquiring Brandywine.

“From the time Tower Health closed Brandywine and Jennersville Hospitals 18 months ago, we have focused on replacing the lost services with better services, to provide greater care for southern and western Chester County residents.  We were pleased to be part of the group that helped to facilitate a partnership between Penn Medicine and the Coatesville VA Medical Center that has led to the move by Penn Medicine to buy Brandywine Hospital from Tower Health,” the statement from the county commissioners read.

Whether the new partnership will find a home inside of the newly purchased Brandywine Hospital is unclear.

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