Tower Health’s finance chief resigning after years of steep losses

Tower Health has hired a restructuring advisor and is considering selling its Philadelphia-area hospitals after posting steep losses in 2019 and 2020.

The finance chief of embattled Tower Health is resigning, the Pennsylvania health system announced Wednesday.

Gary Conner, Tower’s chief financial officer, will leave his position on Feb. 19. West Reading, Penn.-based Tower said it will search for a permanent successor to Conner, who has been CFO since 2015.

“We appreciate Gary’s contributions to Tower Health’s focus on meeting the ever-changing healthcare needs of our communities,” the health system said in a statement. “We thank him for his service to our mission and wish him the best.

Tower spokesperson Richard Wells declined to say why Conner is leaving, but the health system is in significant financial distress and has hired a restructuring consultant. It posted a staggering $439 million operating loss on $1.9 billion in revenue in fiscal 2020, which ended June 30, a nearly 23% loss margin. Executives on a November investor call blamed the pandemic, but Tower also lost money in 2019 before the crisis began.

Jim Gravell of Warbird Consulting Partners will serve as interim CFO while Tower searches for a permanent replacement, the system said in a statement. Gravell, who is already working with Tower, has almost 30 years’ experience leading large health systems. He was formerly the CFO of Mercy Health, a faith-based system with $5 billion in revenue.

Executives on the November call said Tower may sell the five acute-care hospitals it bought from for-profit Community Health Systems in 2017 in Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Those hospitals lost a combined $235 million in fiscal 2020. They also remarked on the underperformance of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

Wells declined to share an update on that front on Wednesday.


Tags: covid-19, pandemic

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