Evans Leading ‘No More Hahnemanns’ Effort
WASHINGTON (Jan. 29, 2020) – Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA-3rd) is leading a bipartisan effort to strengthen hospital finances to prevent closings like last year’s closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Evans said, “One of my main goals is this: No more Hahnemanns! I am leading this proactive effort to prevent more hospital closings by reinforcing safety-net hospitals’ finances and ability to serve Philadelphia as well as communities like Ellwood City in western Pennsylvania that are also dealing with this issue.”
“One promising option is to adapt Pennsylvania’s existing, successful model that is helping rural hospitals and has federal approval from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I want to explore whether we can use that in urban communities as well and how we can strengthen hospitals across the state and nation. Pennsylvania provides Disproportionate Share Hospital payments and we want to see what else can be done. Pennsylvania does not have public hospitals, so our safety-net hospitals fill that role and we must help them stay open to serve patients in need,” Evans said.
Evans serves as a majority member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees much of the U.S. health care system. Evans also serves on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health with Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA-16th), who participated in a meeting Tuesday on the hospital issue along with Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-5th), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1st) and staff from the offices of U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
Evans invited Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, Philadelphia-area hospital leaders, several Pennsylvania members of Congress from both parties and other key stakeholders to meet in Washington Tuesday to discuss ways to move forward on strengthening Pennsylvania’s hospitals through federal laws and federal funding.
The meeting was a follow-up to a November meeting Evans held in Philadelphia with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) and several leading Philadelphia-area health-care stakeholders.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Health is committed to a healthy Pennsylvania for all, and efforts to improve health outcomes across the state,” state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We appreciate the support of Congressman Dwight Evans and the Pennsylvania Delegation on working to find solutions to help all hospitals, whether urban or rural, to survive in today’s medical climate. Our goal is that lessons learned from the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model will make a difference and assist hospitals across the state, and the country, to evolve and be able to serve the patients in their communities.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said, “I am glad parties impacted by the Hahnemann Hospital closure are discussing ways to improve health care in Philadelphia and I appreciate Congressman Evans and Senator Casey working with my office on this initiative.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said, “Pennsylvania does not have public hospitals and our hospitals face immense challenges, whether in rural towns or urban centers. We must work to find solutions to help them serve the patients that come through their doors every day. I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Evans and other colleagues to find new approaches to address the issues our hospitals face in meeting the needs of the urban underserved and to protect the Medicaid program, which many of these patients and the hospitals that care for them depend on.”
“For our Reimagining Hospital Care Listening Session, I needed to hear from hospital workers firsthand how we combat the negative effects from the closure of Hahnemann Hospital,” said state Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia), Democratic chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “People deserve proper healthcare systems without the sudden closure of a vital hospital in the community and I am glad Congressman Evans and I are working together to ensure that existing hospitals can continue to care for patients.”
Evans represents Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South and Center City Philadelphia.