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Jefferson would shut Elkins Park ER under its purchase plans for Einstein Healthcare Network

Jefferson would replace the emergency department and 60-bed inpatient program at Elkins Park by expanding doctors’ outpatient offices and turning over more space to MossRehab.

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia is expected to cede some high-end surgeries to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital if Jefferson completes its acquisition of Einstein.
Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia is expected to cede some high-end surgeries to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital if Jefferson completes its acquisition of Einstein.Read moreMichael Bryant / File Photograph

A top Thomas Jefferson University executive on Tuesday provided a glimpse of Jefferson’s plans for Einstein Healthcare Network if Jefferson can complete the acquisition that the Federal Trade Commission has sued to block.

Jefferson would shut the emergency department and eliminate the 60-bed inpatient program at Einstein’s small Elkins Park campus, replacing them with expanded doctors’ outpatient offices and turning over more space to MossRehab, which shares the grounds.

Jefferson would also shift some highly complex and rare types of surgery from Einstein’s main hospital on Broad Street to its flagship hospital in Center City or to Abington Hospital, the executive said.

Bruce A. Meyer, president of Jefferson Health, described these plans while testifying on the fourth day of a hearing on the FTC’s bid for a preliminary injunction to block the sale. The hearing, held before U.S. District Judge Gerald J. Pappert in Philadelphia, is to continue Wednesday and perhaps spill into Thursday.

» READ MORE: Jefferson-Einstein merger would cut competition, raise prices for Philadelphia patients, FTC says

It’s not clear when Pappert will issue his opinion in the case. After the hearing concludes, all parties will have 10 days to file their conclusions from the hearing. The losing side would be able to contest Pappert’s decision at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The FTC, as well as Attorney General Josh Shapiro, oppose the purchase, saying that it will reduce competition and thus increase prices.

Meyer’s boss, Stephen K. Klasko, who is president of Thomas Jefferson University and chief executive of the health system, also testified. But it was Meyer who provided some of the nuts and bolts of how, he said, Jefferson could save as much as $100 million annually after acquiring Einstein — as well as how it would improve care.

He said the emergency department at the Elkins Park campus handles only 16,000 visits annually — a relatively light 44 a day. In addition, he said the facility typically had about 30 patients in its beds daily, half its capacity. Einstein didn’t respond to an email asking how many doctors, nurses and other staff care for those patients.

Jefferson would use the space at Elkins Park to create treatment rooms at MossRehab, which shares the 30-acre campus, to avoid driving patients elsewhere for services.

» READ MORE: Jefferson, Einstein say its North Philadelphia hospital is at risk without a merger

The plan for Elkins Park also calls for an expansion of specialty outpatient services, such as ear, nose and throat and cardiology. At the same time, Meyer said, there’s a “dearth of primary care in the two-three mile service area around Elkins Park” that Jefferson would address by bringing in new doctors to provide that kind of basic care.

Another goal would be to convert MossRehab, which has 187 beds, so all patients can stay in single rooms, Meyer said.

He also said Jefferson would move its mental-health services from its main hospital at 10th and Walnut Streets to the main Einstein facility in North Philadelphia.

And, he said, Jefferson would shift some extremely sophisticated surgeries to its flagship. Such cases include brain surgery, intracranial catheter placement, complex cardiac cases, and head and neck cancer surgeries — “where you have to do full neck dissection,” Meyer said.

“They all tend to be expensive in terms of the resources required,” he said. "We want to use those extensive resources most efficiently and effectively for patients and families.”