For a town that has been on the economic decline for over two decades, Jeannette, Pennsylvania held its own as it was located near the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Toll Road 66. The town suffered a loss of jobs that rank in the thousands due to numerous glass factory closures that trickled down and affected nearly every small business and resident. But one constant throughout all of this was Monsour Medical Center.
It would be a fair assumption to say that Monsour never fully prospered, partially because of mismanagement, a high debt load and a poor quality of care. It would also be a fair assumption to say that the economy had some bearing on Monsour’s closure in 2006, especially as there was another hospital just two miles away – which closed in 2010. The facility flirted with bankruptcies four times in its brief tenure.
Monsour Medical Center was located in Jeannette, Pennsylvania and opened in 1952 as a roadside clinic nicknamed “Senator Brown’s Mansion” along U.S. Route 30, the Lincoln Highway. Just a few years later, the hospital expanded into a 100 bed facility, prospering and completing one of two planned patient towers in 1971.
Troubles first began for Monsour in 1980, when it filed for the first of four bankruptcies. The first bankruptcy lasted eight years and was only resolved when a $19 million bond was issued to resolve outstanding debt. In 1991, the hospital filed for bankruptcy again, only to file for another in 2001. Various plans were discussed to improve the financial stability of Monsour, such as renaming it to the Doctors Hospital of Westmoreland County, completing physical improvements, purchasing new equipment, recruiting new doctors and adding a medical arts building. None of that occured, and the hospital languished until 2004, when its two year operating license was revoked by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for failure to comply with regulations. As a result, Monsour was issued the first of four six-month provisional licenses.
Compounding the issue further, Monsour’s highly-profitable pain clinic closed shortly after due to suspicious circumstances, only to reopen with new management. The hospital then attempted to form a new cardiology and geriatric medicine program, although the issue was muddled with its fourth bankruptcy filing in October 2004.
In a last ditch effort to save the hospital, Monsour planned to sell part or all of the hospital to physicians in exchange for 50% ownership. The plan, such as others that included converting Monsour into a speciality surgical hospital, never made it off of the planning board. In January 2006, Monsour was cited with seven regulatory violations and at that time, had just seven patients. Because of this, the hospital was limited to 66 beds and was prohibited from performing surgeries or administering anesthesia. Instead of fighting the charges, Monsour closed its doors almost immediately.
The highly visible hospital has suffered greatly since its closure. While the hospital seemed fairly intact from the exterior on a recent inspection, two fires in 2011 have left the brown brick facade charred. Inside Monsour and the conditions vary dramatically. The eastern wing is plagued with black mold while the upper levels have suffered smoke damage, with burnt remains of furniture, ceiling tiles and other materials littering the floors. More unsettling are the needles that scatter the floor, some used, others still within their packages. The morgue, while intact, contains visible stains and unidentifiable materials.
The lobby, with its pink decor, has at least remained in decent condition. Furniture still reside in the waiting area, along with an assortment of magazines and browned plants. Other equipment, such as mechanical beds, copiers and televisions, can be found throughout the complex.
Any hope at salvaging the hospital for a potential future use diminish with each passing year, and it does not seem there is a reuse in the works. The property, which was in foreclosure, is in ownership dispute which explains as to how the hospital has remained unboarded and wide open essentially since its closure.