Crozer Health plans to close the maternity and neonatal intensive care units at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill and consolidate services at the larger Crozer Chester Medical Center in Upland, about 12 miles away.
The changes will be effective Jan. 21, Crozer said Monday. A statement said it “is exploring transportation options for patients who may struggle with reliable transportation.”
Crozer, owned by the for-profit Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., is making the change “to be able to continue providing the highest-quality care and maintain staffing and services for our community,” Crozer’s statement said.
Ending labor and delivery at Delaware County Memorial continues a long-term trend. Twenty years ago, 35 hospitals in Southeastern Pennsylvania had birthing units. That number will fall to 18 when the Delaware County unit closes. Some hospitals with labor and delivery units — such as Hahnemann University Hospital in 2019 — closed altogether. High malpractice rates were among the reasons for closures in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Prospect, based in Los Angeles, acquired Crozer in 2016 in a deal valued at $300 million, mostly for assumed liabilities. In October, Prospect put Crozer and other health systems it owns on the East Coast up for sale.
Crozer did not say whether jobs would be lost by closing the labor and delivery unit.
The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals, a labor union, represents 52 nurses and techs who work in the two units at Delaware County Memorial, where there were 870 births last year, down from 905 in 2020.
State data show that 1,053 babies were born at Crozer-Chester in 2020. The number for 2021 was not available.
In addition to Crozer-Chester and Delaware County Memorial, Prospect owns Springfield Hospital in Springfield and Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park.
The changes at Crozer come as Tower Health is working though financial woes in its collection of hospitals. Jennersville Hospital, in West Grove, closed Friday. Brandywine Hospital, near Coatesville, is slated to close at the end of this month.