Temple University Health System announced today that Northeastern Hospital will transition from an inpatient hospital to a multi-specialty ambulatory care center by July 1, 2009.
The decision was made in the face of declining utilization and mounting losses on healthcare operations at Northeastern Hospital, which has served the community for nearly 100 years. In Fiscal Year 2008, the hospital reported a loss of $6.6 million and is projected to lose an additional $15 million in Fiscal Year 2009.
The decision follows an intensive examination of all options for maintaining hospital services and reflects a trend of area hospital closures that have taken place in the past decade, including acute-care closures of Elkins Park Hospital, Parkview Hospital, the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital, Graduate Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital, Virtua Health Hospital (Camden) and Warminster Hospital.
The new Northeastern Ambulatory Care Center will focus on prenatal care and family health, offer non-emergency walk-in care, and provide outpatient specialty services such as cancer care, cardiac care, digestive disease care, orthopedics (bone, joint, and muscle care) and occupational health. Full radiology services and routine lab work will be available on site.
Northeastern Hospital will begin reducing inpatient services in May, and end all inpatient and emergency services by June 30, 2009. The Northeastern campus will be redeveloped by attracting other health and social-service tenants.
A full program of healthcare outreach and education will be provided at Northeastern Ambulatory Care Center including in the areas of asthma, diabetes, heart failure, nutrition, pregnancy care, smoking cessation, and weight management. On an ongoing basis, additional outpatient programs and facility enhancements will be made to further support the healthcare needs of the community.
As part of the change to Northeastern Ambulatory Care Center, patients will be able to access all inpatient services (including Labor & Delivery and medical/surgical care) at Temple University Hospital. A $1.6 million expansion of Temple University Hospital’s Labor & Delivery Department will further enhance maternity care.
“The creation of Northeastern Ambulatory Care Center permits us to continue to meet the current and future healthcare needs of the community with a financially sustainable model,” said Edmond F. Notebaert, president and CEO of Temple University Health System and senior executive vice president of health sciences for Temple University. “Moving forward, we will continue to explore and consider additional options that would further enhance our ability to deliver healthcare services and education to the communities served by the new Ambulatory Care Center.”
Northeastern Hospital’s School of Nursing will continue operations with a plan to strengthen its ties to Temple University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program.
The transition will result in the elimination of positions at Northeastern Hospital. Northeastern notification to all affected employees will begin today. Human Resources will provide counseling and assistance to all affected employees to help them optimize their search for alternative employment.
“Northeastern Hospital has served this community for generations, and it is our intention to continue to meet the needs of our patients for years to come,” said Northeastern Hospital Chief Executive Officer John Buckley, who will guide the hospital through its transition. “Those of our patients who require more complex care will continue to have access to their doctors at Temple University Hospital, as well as the hundreds of other specialty physicians at Temple University Hospital.”
Over the next few weeks, representatives from Northeastern Hospital will be meeting with area groups and community leaders to explain how the changes in services will affect patients.