Texas Children’s, Baylor Partner with Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
CHAMPIONING CHILDREN—Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word joined health care leaders at a Feb. 28 press conference in San Antonio to announce a new children’s health partnership. From left are: Sister Francisca Eiken; Mark Gilger, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio; Sister Sarah Lennon; Paul Klotman, M.D., president and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine; Sister Michele O’Brien; Sister Margaret Nugent; and Mark Kline, M.D., physician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and chair of pediatrics at Baylor.
By Ronda Wendler | Texas Medical Center News
Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio announced a new, three-way collaboration Feb. 28 at a press conference in San Antonio.
Under the agreement, Baylor – the academic partner of Texas Children’s – will recruit, train and oversee physicians for the San Antonio hospital, while Texas Children’s will provide consulting and clinical expertise.
The nonprofit Christus Santa Rosa Health System will own and operate the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, which is located downtown and is the city’s only nonprofit children’s hospital.
“We’re proud to join with the best institutions in pediatric health care … as three Texas home-grown, not-for-profit organizations, we know the needs of Texas’ children best,” said Pat Carrier, president and CEO of Christus Santa Rosa Health System.
A NATURAL FIT
A year ago, Christus Santa Rosa announced it would discontinue adult services at Christus Santa Rosa City Centre, its adult hospital in downtown San Antonio. Instead, the health system said it would spend $135 million to convert the adult hospital and the adjoining Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital into a new, free-standing children’s hospital which would be renamed Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
Soon after these plans were announced, Christus’ academic partner, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, terminated its relationship with Christus. UT San Antonio instead closed a deal in September with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Vanguard Health Systems, the parent company of the local Baptist Hospital System, to build a $350 million children’s hospital on San Antonio’s northwest side, and to develop a network of clinics.
“We were immediately attracted to the opportunity to collaborate with Christus Santa Rosa,” said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children’s. “We know the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will benefit children not only in San Antonio, but in Texas and beyond. We’re excited to be part of that.”
Baylor College of Medicine President Paul Klotman, M.D., said the affiliation is a natural fit and a winning proposition for all involved.
“This alliance of Baylor College of Medicine, Christus Santa Rosa Health System, and Texas Children’s Hospital ensures that the children of San Antonio will have access to the best care possible,” he said. “Baylor and Texas Children’s are able to provide a level of expertise in a short period of time that otherwise would take decades to build.”
The new partnership will also provide more training opportunities for Baylor medical students and residents, and more access to research studies, Klotman said.
A TIMELY VENTURE
During the next 20 years, the number of children in San Antonio and South Texas is expected to increase by 30 percent, so this effort to deliver more pediatric care is timely, said Carrier. However, the newly forged collaboration will provide health care services not only to children in the region, he said, but also beyond.
“We’re working with the Mexican consulate in San Antonio and their counterpart in Monterrey to provide children from Mexico with health care at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio,” Carrier said. “I’ve already made numerous trips to Mexico to move this along.”
Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is currently recruiting 50 to 70 academic and private practice physicians. Mark Gilger, M.D., will serve as the hospital’s pediatrician-in-chief and as Baylor College of Medicine’s vice chair of pediatrics for San Antonio. On March 1 he transitioned out of his role as head of pediatric gastroenterology at Baylor and Texas Children’s to accept these new roles.
San Antonio has been trying to develop a free-standing children’s hospital ever since an earlier plan almost 20 years ago collapsed over disagreement about where to build it – downtown closer to the lower-income neighborhoods, or on San Antonio’s northwest side. Now with the impending conversion of Christus’ downtown facility to a free-standing children’s hospital, the wait will soon be over, Carrier said.
Construction began in August 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2014. Christus is covering all construction costs, supplemented by private donations. Children are continuing to receive care while the hospital is being renovated.
In addition to Christus’ downtown hospital, San Antonio is home to one other children’s hospital – Methodist Children’s Hospital which is currently being expanded and is connected to San Antonio Methodist Hospital’s flagship facility on the city’s northwest side.
A third children’s hospital, yet unnamed, will open in three years as a result of the partnership between UT San Antonio, Vanguard Health’s Baptist Hospital System, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.