Drexel, Tower to buy St. Christopher's Hospital for $50M

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Drexel University and Tower Health have agreed to pay $50 million to buy St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, edging out a for-profit California hospital company in negotiations that lasted until early Friday.

"This will ensure that the hospital remains a vital resource to families in North Philadelphia and throughout the city and region and that Drexel's medical education training program at the institution will continue," Drexel president John Fry said in an email to the faculty, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The sale agreement will have to be approved by the bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, and a hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Drexel and Tower, which have a new 20-year academic affiliation agreement and are collaborating on a medical school campus near Tower's flagship hospital in Berks County, will be equal partners in the ownership of St. Christopher's.

The purchase of St. Christopher's, backed by the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Independence Health Group, will add to Tower's growing presence in southeastern Pennsylvania, where it bought five community hospitals in 2017.

St. Christopher's real estate is owned by separate companies and was not included in the bankruptcy. It may be sold separately.

The auction for the hospital was prompted by the closing of Hahnemann University Hospital after its parent company filed for bankruptcy in June.

Tower and Drexel, with the backing of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, also teamed up in a separate auction last month for the longtime teaching hospital's residency programs but lost to Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals' $55 million bid.

Federal regulators are trying to block that sale in U.S. District Court in Delaware, where the parent company filed for bankruptcy.

Hahnemann discharged its last inpatient in July. The emergency department didn't officially close until Aug. 16.

Politicians, union leaders and employees decried the shutdown of the hospital, which treated many poor Philadelphians.

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com