Drexel University and Tower Health have signed a letter of intent to combine their physician practice plans, Drexel president John Fry said in an email to staff Wednesday.
The Tower Health Medical Group employs 505 physicians. Drexel University Physicians employs 230 doctors.
If the merger were to be completed it would deepen the ties between Tower — whose flagship is Reading Hospital, in West Reading — and Drexel as the Drexel’s College of Medicine contends with the potential closure of its main clinical teaching location, Hahnemann University Hospital.
“A combined practice plan will offer numerous benefits to both organizations including an expanded clinical footprint for Drexel physicians and professional staff, the expansion of Tower’s academic medicine mission, increased options for medical student clinical rotations, and potential synergies in clinical research,” Fry said in his note.
Drexel and Tower already have a 20-year academic affiliation agreement and are in the process of opening a four-year regional medical-school campus near Reading Hospital.
Fry did not seem to be too worried after Hahnemann University Hospital warned, in April, about potential closure.
“If you take a look at the extensive network of hospitals, I’m really confident that we have contingency plans in place to ensure that there’s no disruption for medical students, for their hospital-based clinical rotations," Fry told The Inquirer at the time.
Tower, which bought Brandywine, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Jennersville, and Chestnut Hill Hospitals in 2017, on Tuesday reported a $48.45 million operating loss on $1.38 billion in total revenue for the nine months ended March 31.
In its report to bondholders, Tower blamed the negative results on $13.2 million in one-time expenses, lower-than-expected patient volumes at its new hospitals, a large number of delayed and denied claims form commercial insurers, and a $93.6 million increase in accounts receivable resulting from the implementation of a new electronic medical records system.