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Penn Medicine is set to purchase Brandywine Hospital located in Chester County, Pa. 

Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Penn Medicine signed a letter of intent to purchase Brandywine Hospital in collaboration with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs on June 28. 

Once purchased by Penn Med, the 69 acre, 171-bed facility located in Chester County, Pa., will be used to provide inpatient, outpatient, mental health, and long-term care services to veterans. Penn Med plans for the sale to be completed by the end of 2023.

The announcement of Penn’s plans to buy Brandywine Hospital came after Penn and the VA partnered and signed two memorandum of understandings, which signify their intent to work towards a common goal, on June 27. 

Penn President Liz Magill, Chief Executive Officer of Penn Medicine Kevin Mahoney, interim Medical Director of the Coatesville VA Medical Center Jennifer Harkins, and several Pennsylvania district U.S. Representatives attended the announcement ceremony. The price and terms under which Penn will be purchasing the property have not been disclosed. 

The agreement is the first result of a federal law signed by President Joe Biden last summer that allows the Department of Veteran Affairs to lease facilities from academic institutions using congressional funds. 

Brandywine Hospital closed on Jan. 31, 2022 for financial reasons. For the last 18 months, Western Chester County has not had an emergency room or a behavioral health unit due to the closure. Texas-based firm Canyon Atlantic Partners had submitted an offer on the hospital but backed out of the deal, failing to provide the $1 million bond. 

Penn has longstanding ties with the veteran community, having provided healthcare to veterans at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Woodland Avenue since 1948. Last March, the VA planned to close the center or replace it if “strategic collaboration” couldn’t be established with Penn, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer

The goal was for the VA to shift focus towards building a new Philadelphia VA Medical Center. However, VA officials stated that those plans are “still in infancy” and that the current facility would remain open. Congress has yet to form the commission that would have been in charge of the VA’s national restructuring plan calling for closure of the Philadelphia and Coatesville VA medical centers. 

“[The VA Medical Center] is now as much a Penn teaching facility as the hospitals owned by Penn or the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which, like the VA Medical Center, is an entirely independent teaching institution staffed by Penn faculty,” Penn professor Peter Groeneveld said in the announcement of his new position as facility director last October. 

Penn Medicine is also opening a new crisis response center at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania — Cedar Avenue, and will be closing its inpatient addiction treatment program at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center next month. 

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Brandywine Hospital was located in Chester County, Del., when, in fact, it is located in Pennsylvania. The DP regrets this error.