The trust that owns Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital in Montgomery County has decided to put the 86-bed addiction-treatment facility up for sale.
The owner cited several years of losses and the need to get the facility into the hands of an operator with the wherewithal to invest in it. The trust is also open to a real estate deal.
“We have done so both with sadness and with hope,” Beth Wolffe, one of three trustees for the Joseph B. Wolffe Trust, said Wednesday.
“The sadness is that the trust that has owned the hospital for so long and that has been part of my family for three generations has faced up to the fact that we are no longer a good owner for this fine institution that does such good and important work. The best thing that we can possibly do for it is help it find a different owner,” said Wolffe, whose grandfather founded the East Norriton institution in the 1950s primarily as a heart hospital.
For several years, Valley Forge has not been profitable, according to Wolffe. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council reported that it had $15 million in revenue in 2017.
Wolffe attributed the financial difficulties partly to the challenge of being a small operator with many competitors that are part of large systems. “We’re sort of like the little neighborhood hardware store and Lowe’s is just down the street,” she said.
In a letter to staff Tuesday, the center’s chief executive, Gregg Y. Slocum, said the planned sale does not guarantee that the hospital will close. “Although it is a possibility, the process is just beginning, and it is way too early to know.”
“The trustees currently contemplate that the hospital will remain open at least through sometime in January 2020,” Slocum’s letter said. Slocum also told employees that he is interested in putting together a group of investors to bid on the hospital.
Wolffe said she and the other trustees have instructed the broker, who is expected to begin marketing the property next week, to offer the 70 acres for development and also as a going concern, or a combination of the two.
All else being equal, “we would prefer a buyer that would keep the institution open, failing that one that would offer as many employment opportunities as possible for our wonderful staff,” Wolffe said.