The week after Tenet Healthcare Corp. agreed to delay the closing of Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia until June 30, two new local suitors joined a third as potential buyers.
Tenet announced plans last December to close the hospital on March 31, but it reached agreement with Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell's office late last month to delay the closing for three months. At the same time, Temple University Health System was the first to emerge as a potential buyer, saying it has had discussions with Rendell's office.
Two new potential buyers-Albert Einstein Healthcare Network and Drexel University College of Medicine-were revealed last week.
Drexel could have the strongest interest because its medical school uses the hospital as a teaching site. Each month, 40 students complete a rotation at the hospital, and 115 full-time faculty and 285 residents practice at the hospital, said Linda Roth, a spokeswoman for Drexel's medical school.
The medical school, which does not operate any hospitals of its own, is working on a formal proposal for how it might use the site, Roth said. Rendell has pointed to the continuation of emergency services at the site as the key to any proposals, Roth said.
In a news release, Einstein said it has been contacted by Rendell's office "regarding Einstein's ability to assist in serving the residents of MCP Hospital's primary service area" and is reviewing the request.
Also last week, a judge in Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court suspended a lawsuit filed by a community group to block Tenet from closing the hospital. Judge Matthew Carrafiello ruled that Tenet's agreement with the governor's office makes the case moot for now, although he also ruled that he will retain jurisdiction if Tenet fails to live up to his previous rulings in the case, said Eric Shore, a lawyer for the community group.
"From the beginning, no one thought we could do anything," Shore said. "Now, we've got the hospital staying open long enough so that something can be done."