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“Delaware County Is Crozer Country, and We Aren’t Going Anywhere.”

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Patrick Gavin sits in the swank new lobby of Crozer-Keystone at Broomall and tries not to grit his teeth when asked about the latest piece of misinformation circulating throughout the medical community. Now that a definitive agreement has been signed, Crozer-Keystone Health System’s chief operating officer and executive vice president wants to set the record straight about Crozer’s future—and, as he explains, it’s all good news for patients and their doctors.

Prospect Medical Holdings is buying Crozer. The California-based company owns 13 hospitals and 40 clinics and outpatient centers in California, Texas and Rhode Island. Gavin says that Crozer’s board of directors chose Prospect because of its approach to medical care and its shared corporate values.

Similarities aside, Crozer will retain its name, and all of its properties will remain open. “Prospect will not sell or close any of the hospitals for at least 10 years following the closing date of the agreement,” says Grant Gegwich, Crozer’s vice president of public relations and marketing. “This does not mean that they will close anything at the 10 year mark. In Prospect’s history, they have never sold or closed a hospital.”

Rumors had circulated that Prospect would jettison some Crozer hospitals that serve low-income and under-insured patients, leaving them without healthcare. Not true, Gavin says. Crozer will become a for-profit system, but that won’t change patient care. “Our board screened the candidates very carefully,” he says. “Prospect was chosen based on its absolute commitment to charity care policies, which are the same or better than ours.”

Leaving no patient behind was critical for Crozer, Gavin says. “Crozer is committed to the entirety of the county, not just the wealthy portions of it,” he says. “We want to be clear about that. We’re proud of that, and Prospect is proud of that. Delaware County is Crozer country, and we aren’t going anywhere.”

In fact, Crozer is only going to get better, Gavin insists. Over the next five years, Prospect will inject a hefty dose of cash into the healthcare system: $100 million to fund the employee pension plan and $200 million in capital. Where that money goes has yet to be determined, but Gavin says it will be spent on strategic initiatives that will improve patient care and possibly expand Crozer’s footprint.

Case in point: The $16.5 million Broomall outpatient center that opened in January. The center is the latest example of Crozer’s five-star patient care, complete with a Four Seasons-like interior design, high-tech imaging and diagnostics, and extensive cancer care. As with Crozer’s Brinton Lake complex, Broomall is an example of coordinated regional care and population health management, both of which appear to be the future of the health system.

It’s a fair guess that at least some of Prospect’s $200 million will be spent on opening yet another high-end outpatient center in Delaware County. Where? Gavin isn’t saying. “Stay tuned,” he says with a smile. “There are great things to come.”

 

Read more about Crozer’s future in the April issue of Main Line Today.

Patrick Gavin