Thomas Jefferson University is negotiating a deal to acquire Temple’s Fox Chase Cancer Center, which has been struggling financially.
Leaders from Temple University Health System and Jefferson Health will negotiate for Fox Chase and consider the deal in a 90-day window that will end on April 10. The acquisition intends to better serve the needs of Fox Chase, its patients, the surrounding community and both universities’ goals, according to a Jan. 10 Jefferson Health press release.
If Fox Chase is sold, Jefferson Health and Temple Health will enter a long-term agreement for the systems’ academic and cancer treatment methods, which would expand health system access for North Philadelphia residents, representatives from both institutions wrote in the release.
Temple Health hopes a potential merger will help address the cancer center’s current problems with investment in technology maintenance and improvement, patient treatment, Medicare and Medicaid funding, reshaping the healthcare system and managing future operating deficits, wrote Temple University President Richard Englert and Dr. Larry Kaiser, president and CEO of Temple Health in a joint letter to the Temple community in August 2018.
“The move opens the door to bring together significant complementary expertise in cancer treatment and breakthrough research to improve patient outcomes across the greater Philadelphia region and beyond,” Englert and Kaiser wrote.
Maureen Rabbitt, 23, who used to live in the Fox Chase neighborhood, said as long as quality care continues, it doesn’t matter which health system owns the cancer center.
“I don’t think it’s going to have too much of an effect,” said Rabbitt, a first-year speech, language and hearing science master’s student. “[Fox Chase] has changed hands for the 23 years I’ve been there. As long as they keep doing their best to serve their patients and no patients get lost in the shuffle…transferring from Temple to Jefferson.”
Jefferson Health has expanded rapidly, acquiring 11 new hospitals since 2013, KYW Newsradio reported.
“This negotiation period will allow us to better understand how partnering could improve lives for patients throughout Philadelphia and far beyond,” said Dr. Stephen Klasko, the president of Thomas Jefferson University, in the Jan. 10 press release. “This [acquisition] could save, and change, lives forever.”
Temple Health has to make capital investments to improve maintenance and technology and avoid deficits in the future, according to a 2017 independent analysis of the health system conducted by the international consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal.
The Board of Trustees hired the firm to help address Temple Health’s growing financial concerns. On Wednesday, Kaiser announced Temple Health is eliminating several high-up administrative positions within the Temple Health System.
The Board authorized Englert to appoint Stuart McLean as chief restructuring officer for Temple Health in June 2018, to provide solutions for the system’s financial difficulties. The CRO, with Board and Englert’s approval, will work with Temple Health management to restructure the health system’s operations.
The Board also authorized a financial adviser to coordinate the potential sale of Fox Chase and Temple’s Jeanes Hospital in June 2018. No final decision has been made regarding the sale of either facility.
“Temple and Jefferson share a home city, a mission and a commitment to caring for cancer patients throughout the region, and Jefferson is an outstanding potential partner,” Englert wrote. “We support the idea of two great Philadelphia institutions coming together to do what’s right for the patients we proudly serve.”