The Healthcare Battle for Glen Mills

The Delaware County community has become the focus of a continuing territory grab for institutions such as Crozer, CHOP, Nemours and Rothman.

Glen Mills is becoming one of the healthiest suburbs in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Four of the region’s biggest care networks—Crozer, CHOP, Nemours and Rothman—now have offices there. Main Line Health is the latest to join the crowd, with a new complex opening by early December. 

The 131,500-square-foot, $47 million project plants a big MLH flag in a corner of Delaware County where it already has a distinct presence. Just nine miles away is Riddle Hospital and its medical campus. “We look at where there’s a gap in services, and we believe we have an obligation to fill the gap,” says Lydia Hammer, Main Line Health’s senior vice president of marketing and business development. 

The existence of such a gap should come as news to Crozer-Keystone Health System, which opened its Glen Mills complex in 2005, then expanded it in 2007 and 2011. Crozer’s Glen Mills offerings include physicians in more than 30 specialties, the Crozer-Keystone Regional Cancer Center, a wide array of imaging services, and a surgery center.

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Glen Mills may not be medically underserved, but it is a fast-growing area. It’s also just a few miles from the Delaware border, making it attractive to healthcare entities that don’t have locations in the First State. That’s one of the reasons why Rothman opened its 22-room facility there in June. “That location—with Routes 322, 1 and 202—has high population density and broadens our reach into Delaware County, Chester County and Delaware,” says Mike West, Rothman’s CEO. “If we draw enough patients from Delaware, we’ll consider opening there.”

Main Line Health’s Hammer says the company isn’t planning to cross state lines, but she’d be glad if Delaware patients decided to. And that may happen, given the scope of services that will be offered in Glen Mills. The new complex includes an urgent-care clinic, Bryn Mawr Rehab therapy, an extensive imaging center, and offices for physicians specializing in primary care, cardiology, gynecology and more. 

A focal point of the facility is the 50,000-square-foot Main Line Health Fitness & Wellness Center. “Our new strategic plan focuses on keeping our community healthy,” says Hammer. 

In addition to a full roster of classes, three pools and state-of-the-art equipment, the fitness center has a medical advisory board of more than 30 physicians in a variety of specialties. Its chairman, Dr. Bernard King, says that physicians are collaborating with personal trainers to design workout regimens for patients dealing with different medical issues. Cardiologists will create workouts for people with atherosclerosis; endocrinologists, for diabetics; and neurologists, for patients with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. “We’ll provide turnkey systems for members of the fitness center,” King says. “The beauty of having a multidisciplinary approach is that the neurologist in command of the highest echelons of research will direct the fitness professionals’ work with specific patients.”

While it somewhat resembles the medical-fitness fusion of Crozer’s Healthplex Sports Club in Springfield, the MLH center is unique, says King. “This facility will be incomparable, maybe even on the East Coast,” he insists. “I don’t want it to be called a gym; I want it to be called a fitness and wellness center.”

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Hammer says the facility has already exceeded its membership enrollment goals. “If this is a success, we’ll open other centers,” she says. 

To clarify, Hammer notes that fitness facilities wouldn’t be built near existing Main Line Health hospitals or centers—only in new locations. Though declining to disclose potential sites, she says that plans are always in the works. 

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!