Two of the Northeast’s largest medical institutions will begin their long-discussed merger on July 1.
Fox Chase Cancer Center will expand into neighboring Jeanes Hospital and join Jeanes as part of the Temple University Health System.
Joe Schofield, associate director at Jeanes, and Gary Weyhmuller, chief operating officer at the cancer center, detailed some of the plans during the bimonthly meeting of the Fox Chase Homeowners Association and Town Watch last Wednesday night.
The first project will be to build a 31-square-foot cancer patient care unit on the third floor of Jeanes’ Founder’s Building. The unit will feature 41 private patient rooms and be contained within the existing structure.
The Founder’s Building is the oldest on the Jeanes campus and dates to 1927. The hospital opened one year later with an endowment from the estate of Anna T. Jeanes, a member of a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family.
The 147-bed general hospital is at 7600 Central Ave. and shares a 47.5-acre campus with 100-bed cancer center. A footbridge physically connects the institutions.
According to Schofield, the partners will soon issue a request for proposals and hope to begin construction in the fall. The build should take 18 to 20 months.
About 54 Jeanes office workers will be displaced to make room for the cancer unit but will be retained. The unit will occupy 20,000 square feet now used as office space, as well as part of Jeanes’ patient unit 3C.
“No jobs will be lost,” Schofield said, adding that the hospitals hope to create jobs with their “new venture.”
The medical facilities began discussing a possible merger last year after the cancer center failed in its efforts to expand its footprint into neighboring Burholme Park. They reached a merger agreement in December and reported directly to the Fox Chase Homeowners in March.
The cancer center brings into the partnership a strong “brand” as a nationally recognized and certified cancer facility, Weyhmuller said, while Jeanes and Temple offer the cancer center the opportunity to expand patient care and research.
Meanwhile, the cancer center continues its previously approved development of a new on-campus research building that does not infringe on park ground, Weyhmuller said.
In other meeting business:
• Matt Braden, president of the homeowners association, reiterated the group’s opposition to the legalization of a fence on a residential property on the 8100 block of Elberon Ave.
According to Braden, the fence appears to be iron, painted black and about 6 feet tall, in violation of a height restriction in the city’s zoning code. The property is zoned R-4 (residential), covers about a quarter-acre and features a 2.5-story stone single home, property tax records show.
Nobody at the meeting responded when Braden asked if the owner or his representative wished to speak. Neighbors claimed that the fence was built about two years ago.
Bob Barrilli, an administrative assistant to City Councilman Brian O’Neill specializing in zoning, reported that neighbors complained to O’Neill’s office about the fence during its construction. Barrilli contacted the Department of Licenses & Inspections, which sent an inspector to the site, he said.
The inspector did not issue a violation notice then, but would have informed the homeowner about applicable code restrictions, Barrilli said.
Construction continued. Braden and other neighbors now think the completed fence is unsightly. The property owner has applied to the city for a zoning variance. A public hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, at the Zoning Board of Adjustment, 1515 Arch St.
• Braden introduced George Bezinas as the new vice president of the homeowners association. The civic group’s executive board appointed Bezinas to fill the vacancy.
Bezinas is a Central High School social studies teacher and a five-year resident of Fox Chase who has attended civic meetings regularly for the last three years.
• Matt Keeley, a member of American Legion Post 366, invited neighbors to attend two community events.
On Memorial Day, May 28, there will be a ceremony to honor deceased military veterans at Lawnview Cemetery, 500 Huntingdon Pike, Rockledge. The event will start at 11 a.m.
The Loudenslager American Legion Post 366, 7976 Oxford Ave., will host A Night at the Races to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project on Friday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m.
The $25 advance ticket price ($35 after May 25) includes admission, food, soda, beer and entertainment. Sponsors can also “buy” and “name” individual horses for $10 each.
Attendees must be age 21 or older and may place wagers on pre-recorded horse races shown on video. The films are distributed randomly and delivered in sealed containers, so organizers do not know the results in advance.
Checks should be sent to Doc Quinlan c/o Post 366, 7976 Oxford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111.• The next Fox Chase Homeowners Association and Town Watch meeting will be on Wednesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m., at American Legion Post 366. ••EndFragment