Chester County Hospital to add modular units in response to hospital closures as wait times hit 9 hours

2022-06-15 13:44:22 By : Mr. Ben Wang

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WEST GOSHEN — Township supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to waive land development requirements and allow Chester County Hospital to add an almost 3,000-square-foot modular emergency room with 12 exam/treatment areas.

“Given the urgency of the situation, Chester County Hospital is requesting a waiver,” board Chairman Shaun Walsh said prior to the vote.

Daniel Rowley, of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP law firm, represented the hospital. He said that recent events had created an “extraordinary set of circumstances.”

With the Dec. 31 closing of Jennersville Hospital and the Jan. 31 closing of Brandywine Hospital by Tower Health and the ongoing COVID pandemic, Chester County Hospital expects more emergency patients than current capacity allows.

Typically, this type of submission would go through the land development process and would involve multiple submissions and reviews at various levels.

Chester County Hospital President and CEO Michel Duncan told supervisors that the hospital expects about 40 percent of patients from both Jennersville and Brandywine hospitals to seek emergency treatment at Chester County Hospital. He also said that it is a “little hard” to project pandemic numbers.

Duncan said that Chester County Hospital’s emergency room sees 53,000 to 56,000 patients annually. Duncan said that the hospital will need the next six weeks to assess the impact of the Jennersville and Brandywine closings, along with the impact of the pandemic.

Duncan said that emergency room patients sometimes now wait nine to 10 hours. Duncan also said that the hospital is nearly finished with a four-to-five-year project to add to the emergency room.

Supervisor Tinamarie Smith said that while she supported the waiver, she wondered if skipping the regular process might create problems down the road.

Township Solicitor Kristen Camp said that waiving the regular land development process is not something that she would typically suggest. She said that stormwater, impervious cover, parking and sewer issues would still be addressed.

Brandon Sargent, of architect firm BBLM, said that the proposed modular structure would have a finite life span of about eight to 10 years and would be fully designed and engineered with “robust construction” to meet the building code.

The modular building will be assembled with prefabricated metal legs, trusses, and insulated wall and roof panels. Building components would be trucked in and the structure would be built onsite.

Duncan also noted that Brandywine Hospital does not currently have a license to operate and would have to go through a detailed process to receive a new license.

He said that nurses and medical staff would need to be hired and that reopening would be a “year or more process.”

The hospital will also install sensor-activated lights in the access driveway between the hospital and modular building. Patients will use the existing walk-in entrance to check-in and will be escorted by clinical personnel across the ambulance driveway. Three ambulance parking spots will be relocated.

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