Historic announcement charts Baylor’s future

Jan. 7 was an important day for Baylor College of Medicine. On that day Baylor announced a joint venture with CHI St. Luke’s Health, the umbrella group for all of the St. Luke’s Hospital properties, purchased by Catholic Health Initiatives a year ago.

Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center

Wayne Keathley, Dr. James Willerson of Texas Heart Institute, Kevin Lofton, of Catholic Health Initiatives, Dr. Paul Klotman, and Deborah Lee-Eddie of CHI St. Luke’s

Baylor has been determined to chart a path for its adult private clinical mission that allows it to determine its own future with a committed partner. This joint venture, in which Baylor is co-owner with shared governance in a new hospital on the McNair Campus, as well as the existing St. Luke’s Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, is the solution and our partner is a perfect fit, according to President and CEO Dr. Paul Klotman. Both hospitals are called Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, and identified by location.

Positive reaction

Reaction to the announcement has been very positive. In a series of Town Hall style meetings with faculty, staff and students in the days following the announcement, it was clear that the joint venture was welcomed news for the Baylor Community.

For the first time, Baylor will have a stake in its own private adult teaching hospital. The joint venture provides us with 50-50 governance with CHI St. Luke’s, sharing the rewards but also the risks.

“It is in the best interest of all of the Baylor community for this to be a successful venture, and we will all work to make sure that it is,” Klotman said.

“When I recruited Wayne Keathley to Baylor a year ago to oversee the development of the McNair Campus and our clinical network, it was because I knew how good he was at developing a premier program.

“He will do an outstanding job as the first president of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, both the existing campus on Bertner Street and the new hospital on the McNair Campus. We are confident that when the hospital opens in 2015, it will quickly be seen as a place for extraordinary patient care,” Klotman noted.

What’s involved in the JV?

The joint venture encompasses the hospital building on the McNair Campus and the existing St. Luke’s Medical Center in the Texas Medical Center, as well as other CHI St. Luke’s facilities inside the 610 loop.

It excludes Baylor’s outpatient clinics on the McNair Campus and at the Baylor Clinic. So what does that mean for you? If you currently see a Baylor doctor at the Baylor Clinic, the Jamail Specialty Center, the outpatient clinics on the McNair Campus or the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, you will continue to do so and can expect the same exceptional care from your physicians and from the medical and professional staff at these locations.

Baylor physicians will continue to admit patients as needed to the hospital of their choice.  The Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center will have an open staff model, with both full-time Baylor faculty members and community physicians. We believe both groups enhance our patient care mission.

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We hope this joint venture will grow our clinical practice and impact our education, research and community missions in significant ways. The Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center will serve as our primary, private adult teaching hospital and we expect it to offer an opportunity to grow on a national level in areas such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and genetics.

Our long-standing affiliations with Texas Children’s Hospital, Harris Health System, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other affiliated hospitals are unaffected by the joint venture and remain important to the mission of Baylor College of Medicine.

The joint venture does not affect health care and other benefits for employees of Baylor College of Medicine.

Next steps

“In the days since the announcement, we have been working to put together the next steps for determining the best strategy for moving forward on a number of different levels. It is an exciting time for Baylor College of Medicine and I thank all of you who have communicated your support and suggestions. If you have a question about the joint venture, please send me a note at president@bcm.edu,” Klotman said.