Tower Health, Drexel win bid to acquire children's hospital

St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia

Berks County-based Tower Health is looking to expand its presence in Philadelphia.

Tower Health said Wednesday that it partnered with Drexel University to submit a joint bid for the acquisition of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

"The partnership's mission is to ensure that access to pediatric services continues uninterrupted for the vulnerable, underserved community that depends on St. Christopher's for its care," the two organizations said in a joint statement. "The partnership will provide outstanding health care and operating expertise, as well as financial security and stability that will complement and augment St. Christopher's nationally recognized programs for children and exceptional care."

Tower and Drexel did not provide any details about their bid, which is said to be backed by the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Independence Health Group, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The newspaper also reports that a consortium led by Jefferson Health was initially expected to submit a bid, but bowed out of the auction.

The auction of St. Christopher's, which is set for Thursday, was triggered by the closing of Hahnemann University Hospital, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this summer.

St. Christopher's already has a pediatric health partnership with Tower Health's Reading Hospital and an academic affiliation with Drexel University.

Tower and Drexel's joint bid for St. Christopher's builds on an existing partnership that formed in 2018 to construct a medical school in Wyomissing.

Since Hahnemman's bankruptcy, Tower has also taken on a majority of the hospital's residency and fellowship programs and has transferred the hospital's kidney and liver transplant program to Reading Hospital.

Tower Health expanded deeper into southeastern Pennsylvania in 2017, when it purchased five hospitals, including Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, from Tennessee-based Community Health Systems.