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Health-care providers beckon from Glen Mills, Pa.

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The Rothman Institute opened its Glen Mills center with a strategic eye toward drawing patients from Delaware, thanks to its proximity near routes 322, 1 and 202.

The Rothman Institute opened its Glen Mills center with a strategic eye toward drawing patients from Delaware, thanks to its proximity near routes 322, 1 and 202.

Three major networks in operation, with fourth on the way

by Melissa Jacobs
Special to Delaware Business Times

When is Delaware not Delaware? When it’s Glen Mills, Pa. The town that sits less than eight miles from the state’s border has become the new mecca for Pennsylvania health-care companies looking to attract patients from Delaware. Three of Pennsylvania’s biggest health-care networks – Crozer-Keystone, CHOP, and The Rothman Institute – now have offices in Glen Mills. Main Line Health will soon join the party. Its 131,500-square-foot, $47 million center opens in early December.

That Main Line Health complex includes a 50,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center, an urgent care clinic, Bryn Mawr Rehab therapy, imaging services and offices for primary care physicians as well as cardiologists, gynecologists and other specialists. Why is Main Line Health planting such a big flag in Glen Mills? One reason is to draw more patients from Delaware, said Lydia Hammer, Main Line Health’s senior vice president of marketing and business development. “We’re interested in people who live and work in northern Delaware,” Hammer said. “It is not our intention to open in the state of Delaware. But we’d love to have those patients.”

Main Line Health already has a good chunk of Delaware patients. In 2015, more than 7,800 Delawareans saw physicians at Riddle Hospital and other Main Line Health locations. Hammer hopes that, if they build it, more will come.

That’s the same strategy deployed by The Rothman Institute. In June, the orthopedic Goliath opened a Glen Mills center with 22 exam rooms. CEO Mike West makes no bones about it: Rothman is after patients in the region. “That location, with Route 322, Route 1 and 202 has high population density and broadens our reach into Delaware county and Chester County and Delaware,” West said. “Patients from Delaware were already driving up to see our doctors and we had requests from primary care physicians to open more offices. If there’s a high level of interest from patients, physicians and/or a healthcare network, we will consider going into the state of Delaware. Nothing is off the table.”

This Glen Mills surge began in October 2015 with the opening of CHOP Care Network Brandywine Valley Specialty Care and Ambulatory Surgery Center, a 44,000-square-foot facility that offers everything from allergists to nephrologists. Not to be outdone in the peewee league, Nemours created its own Glen Mills mega center. Opened in April 2016, Nemours’ offices include imaging, specialty care and the new Center for Sports Medicine. Nemours will also have primary care offices in the new Main Line Health center when it opens.

The Main Line Health Complex includes a 50,000 square-foot fitness and wellness center. (Photo courtesy of NELSON Worldwide Inc.)

The Main Line Health Complex includes a 50,000 square-foot fitness and wellness center. (Photo courtesy of NELSON Worldwide Inc.)

So, while the other health-care networks are targeting Delaware, Nemours is expanding into Pennsylvania. Since late 2015, Nemours has slowly but steadily acquired pediatric practices in five suburbs west of Philadelphia – and its enormous South Jersey complex will soon be open. Pauline Corso, chief operating officer of Nemours Physician Network, said that this is part of the move towards population care and management, which includes establishing primary care pediatricians in locations convenient to patients. “Local presence is important,” Corso said. “Quite frankly, many families from Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey were already getting their medical care through us. We’re just moving closer to where they live, which is good for the continuum of care.”

It’s also good business, which Crozer-Keystone Health System knows very well. Crozer was the first to open outpatient services in Glen Mills. That was way back in 2005. Since then, thousands of Delawareans have traveled to Crozer’s Glen Mills campus for medical care. Grant Gegwich, Crozer’s vice president of public relations and marketing, believes that Crozer’s roots are deeply embedded in that area. “With dozens of primary care and specialty physicians, a cancer center, an outpatient surgery center, an imaging center, an endoscopy center, a sleep center and much more, we have been able to offer area residents a convenient destination for nearly all of their healthcare needs,” he said. “We are proud that members of the community have chosen Crozer-Keystone for their health-care needs over the past decade, and we are confident that they will continue to do so in the future.”

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