WEST CHESTER - Chester County Common Pleas Senior Judge Lawrence Wood signed the order to approve the sale of the Phoenixville Hospital to Community Health Systems (CHS) late Wednesday evening.

Wood's decision was postponed from Tuesday morning following an Orphans Court hearing so the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office could review a signed asset purchase agreement.

Upon notification from the attorney general's office that the agreement had been reviewed and everything was in order, Wood signed the order.

"We received word after normal business hours that Judge Wood signed the order approving the sale," said Brian Torrence, director of marketing and public relations, Phoenixville Hospital, on Thursday. "Obviously we're very happy that we received the approval and this brings us close to finalizing everything by June 30."

Having owned the hospital since July 1, 1997, the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) reached an agreement with CHS to change ownership of Phoenixville Hospital from UPHS to for-profit CHS.

CHS, which is headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., operates 72 hospitals in 22 states, including Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in Pottstown, and Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville.

All parties involved have received final approval of definitive agreements by each party's Board of Directors, and the approval of sale by Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, and the Orphan's Court of Chester County.

"With the Orphan Court approval, the major approval process of the sale has been completed. Now we can begin the transition from UPHS to CHS," said Torrence. "July 1 is slated to be the first day for Phoenixville Hospital to be a CHS-owned facility."

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