Thomas Jefferson University to acquire Fox Chase Cancer Center

Dr. Stephen K. Klasko is the president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health (Philadelphia Tribune photo by Abdul R. Sulayman)

By Ayana Jones

PHILADELPHIA — Thomas Jefferson University and Temple University have entered into a definitive agreement under which Jefferson will acquire Temple’s Fox Chase Cancer Center and Bone Marrow Program.

Temple and Jefferson will proceed with a integration process to complete the transaction, expected to occur in the spring of 2020. The agreement comes after Jefferson and Temple announced in January that they had entered exclusive negotiations.

“Health care is on the cusp of a revolution and it will require creative partnerships to have Philadelphia be a center of that transformation,” said Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health.

“For Jefferson, our relationship with Temple will accelerate our mission of improving lives and reimagining health care and education to create unparalleled value.”

Klasko told the Tribune that part of Jefferson’s motivation for acquiring Fox Chase was ensuring that the specialty hospital was preserved after Temple put it up for sale.

“The two other alternatives could have been a for-profit and — we’ve seen how that went with Hahnemann — or someone from outside of the city to take it,” he said.

“I personally didn’t see how it would have been good for the city to have a Boston or New York place to actually have Philly become a satellite. For us, it was partly preserving that great institution for the city.”

Jefferson and Temple officials said they will collaborate in various ways, including accelerating their efforts to address the social determinants of health through the combined service areas of both institutions; working together to increase diversity in applicants to medical school; enhancing education for students at both universities in engineering, business and emerging professions and collaborating on health care innovation focused on using emerging technologies like telehealth.

“Today’s announcement launches a collaboration that will benefit patient treatment and medical education at both Temple and Jefferson for years to come,” Temple President Richard M. Englert said in a news release.

“The sale of Fox Chase brings together significant complementary expertise in cancer treatment and breakthrough research to serve the needs of patients across the region. At the same time, it will allow Temple the opportunity to invest even greater resources in the service of our core mission to the North Philadelphia community.”

Fox Chase and Jefferson’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center are both National Cancer Institute-designated centers. The combined cancer centers will have one of the largest Bone Marrow Transplant programs on the East Coast.

In a separate agreement, Jefferson and Temple have agreed to transition Temple’s membership interest in Health Partners Plan, a Philadelphia-based managed care program, to Jefferson. The finalization of the transition of Temple’s membership interest is subject to a number of closing conditions. A closing date for the transition has not yet been determined. Financial terms for the deals were not disclosed.

Jefferson has grown significantly since Klasko’s arrival in 2013. The health system has merged with Abington Health, Aria Health, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and Kennedy Health System. Thomas Jefferson University also merged with Philadelphia University.

Ayana Jones is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared