Jefferson in talks to buy Fox Chase Cancer Center

Temple University is negotiating with Jefferson over Fox Chase Cancer Center but not Jeanes Hospital.

Times File Photo

Thomas Jefferson University is in exclusive talks with Temple University to buy Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Not included in the negotiations — Jeanes Hospital, which is also owned by Temple and is right next door to the cancer center.

Jefferson and Temple on Thursday announced an agreement to open a 90-day window for the two sides to discuss the possible sale of Fox Chase Cancer Center.

“The intent is to determine if the acquisition of Fox Chase will better serve the needs of cancer patients, the community and each other’s strategic goals,” the universities said in a joint statement.

Temple began floating the idea of selling Fox Chase and Jeanes, its two Northeast Philadelphia healthcare centers, this past summer due to financial difficulties with the university’s health system.

Kevin Feeley, a spokesman for the Temple Board of Trustees, confirmed that Jeanes is not part of the negotiating agreement with Jefferson.

“Temple plans to continue to operate Jeanes Hospital,” Feeley said in an email.

Feeley declined to elaborate when asked whether Temple was still exploring the option of selling Jeanes.

Jeanes, which in 2018 celebrated 90 years in business, joined the Temple Health system in 1996.

Any deal between Jefferson and Temple for Fox Chase Cancer Center would be subject to state and federal regulatory approval, according to a news release published by the schools.

The acquisition would allow Jefferson to pair its Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Fox Chase, both of which are designated by the National Cancer Institute.

“Just imagine the potential of combining the stellar researchers and clinicians of Fox Chase Cancer Center with the outstanding experts at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson,” Jefferson President Stephen K. Klasko said in a statement. “This could save – and change – lives forever.”

For Temple, the sale could provide an influx of cash for the health system, which is struggling financially. Temple President Richard Englert has said that the school’s medical facilities treat many low-income and uninsured patients and provide millions of dollars in charity care every year.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Larry Kaiser, Temple Health’s chief executive officer, told investors during a conference call last month that Fox Chase wants to build a new patient tower, which Temple can’t afford.

Fox Chase became affiliated with Temple in 2012.

“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 said in a statement.

“We are both dedicated to quality health care, safety, service, medical education, research and discovery, and we support the idea of two great Philadelphia institutions coming together to do what’s right for the patients we proudly serve,” he added. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com