Back in September, BioNews Texas reported that the Houston-based Texas Heart Institute announced that they signed a letter of intent to finalize exclusive negotiations toward a new cardiovascular disease research and education partnership with Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), worth $220 million over the next decade. Now, once again, the Englewood, CO-based CHI has forged a significant healthcare partnership in Texas, this time by significantly expanding their long-standing educational, clinical and research affiliations in conjunction with Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Medical Center.
According to a recent press release, CHI St. Luke’s has launched a new venture with BCM for the new hospital on Baylor’s McNair Campus — a facility that is set to eventually replace the current CHI St. Luke’s Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. The new agreement will put into motion plans to open a “new, acute-care, open-staff hospital on Baylor’s McNair Campus in the central area of the Texas Medical Center, which is currently home to two outpatient facilities owned by the college — the Baylor College of Medicine Medical Center and the Lee and Joe Jamail Specialty Care Center.” In preparation for the launch of the new effort, St. Luke’s Health System filed the necessary paperwork to operate as “CHI St. Luke’s Health” earlier in the week, with plans for Baylor and CHI St. Luke’s to jointly operate the new hospital. Construction on the new facility’s first phase of the project will produce a 250-bed inpatient facility, which is expected to open by spring of 2015. The second phase, adding up to 400 additional acute-care beds, is expected to be completed in 2018.
Paul Klotman, M.D., BCM president and chief executive officer, characterized the new venture as truly innovative: “This is a relationship unique in academic medicine. Medical schools usually receive support through academic affiliation agreements with their hospital affiliates. This is completely different in that we are part owners. We will be in this together, with joint governance, sharing the rewards and the risks. It is a novel approach to create an alignment that brings in the most cost-effective, high quality care. And, it provides Baylor the independence we have sought in charting our future.”
The press release also indicated that Dr. Wayne Keathley, who formerly served as president of the Baylor College of Medicine Medical Center and Health Network, will now function as president of CHI St. Luke’s, with his executive duties including management of the existing hospital as well as the new facility that will be built on the McNair Campus.
CHI St. Luke’s Health and Baylor have also indicated that they will share an academic affiliation as well, which will include a wide range of cooperative educational and research initiatives including a comprehensive cancer center on the campus of the new hospital and affiliated community cancer centers across the region.
The new announcement regarding CHI’s new joint venture with CHI St. Luke’s is also connected to their recent agreement with THI, which sets in motion a 10-year investment meant to further advance research and education into cardiovascular diseases. At a news conference of leaders of Catholic Health Initiatives, CHI St. Luke’s, Baylor and Texas Heart at the Texas Medical Center, a new cooperation between CHI St. Luke’s Health, Baylor and THI will lead to “the development of a state-of-the-art cardiovascular program on the campus of the new hospital that will be capable of transforming cardiovascular medicine through leadership in areas such as regenerative medicine and the development of next-generation medical devices,” according to the press release.
Kevin E. Lofton, president and chief executive officer of CHI, sees the confluence of these three leading healthcare and research organizations as a significant step toward a new era in how all facets of health and life sciences can work together: “These agreements will bring to bear new capabilities and resources in an alliance that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the region. This is a clinical, educational and research-focused enterprise that we think will be capable of creating miracles.”
Not only is this new agreement significant for CHI, BCM, and THI, but for the Texas Medical Center as well, which once again has managed to expand its reach into offering world-class healthcare and life sciences research facilities through fostering partnerships with the world’s leading clinical, educational, and research institutions. Robert Robbins, M.D., president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center, commented: “These two agreements are excellent examples of the collaborative spirit of the TMC. When strong institutions join together, the result is good for all of us, and in particular, the communities we serve, both locally and globally.”
“This is a wonderful fit, a perfect collaboration for all of our organizations – and, more importantly, for the people in the Houston region,” said CHI’s Lofton. “We share a common vision of clinical and operational excellence and innovation – and a firm commitment to lead the way in an entirely new health care environment that focuses on value-driven, high-quality care.”