Posted on September 7, 2012 at 4:54 PM
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio has gone from zero to two, stand-alone children’s hospitals.
By unanimous vote, University of Texas Regents secured a partnership between the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio and Vanguard Health Systems, which runs San Antonio’s Baptist hospitals. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will join Vanguard in running the San Antonio facility.
The deal means construction will begin on a $350 million, 250-bed hospital for kids within easy reach of research faculty in the medical center area.
“What was absolutely critical to me was also establishing an environment that could provide the best educational opportunities, the best venue to educate the next generation of health care providers,” said Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor of the UT system.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff praised the decision, while downplaying another children’s hospital that is already under construction downtown.
Christus Santa Rosa says its Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is 24 months from completion.
And within hours of the UT announcement, CEO Pat Carrier called a news conference, where he told nurses, doctors and reporters, “We are obviously disappointed that the HSC has chosen not to join us in that pursuit.”
A majority of Christus doctors come from the UT Health Science Center, in a partnership that after 40-years, will have to be dissolved.
Christus says it is exploring agreements with Texas Children’s Hospital of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine to fill its ranks of physicians and provide its own network of critical care for children.
San Antonio leaders originally had wanted all the local hospital networks to come to a mutual agreement on a world-class, children’s facility.
But disagreements arose between its location, the clash between profit and non-profit interests, and how the hospital would be managed.
The stalemate has ended with San Antonio getting two facilities.
“There will be competition, and ultimately the patients will make the choice as to which better meets their needs,” said Pat Carrier, CEO of Christus Santa Rosa Health Systems.