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Kevin Lofton, CHI

CHI, Baylor and Texas Heart Institute announce collaborations in Houston

By Rachel Landen
Posted: January 7, 2014 - 4:30 pm ET

Catholic Health Initiatives, Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Heart Institute announced Tuesday several clinical, educational and research collaborations already taking shape in the Houston region.

After entering negotiations last October, Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, finalized a joint-venture agreement that became effective Jan. 1. The partnership is centered around CHI St. Luke's Health, which Catholic Health Initiatives purchased in April from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Baylor College of Medicine has historically used St. Luke's as a teaching hospital.

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But now, the medical school and CHI St. Luke's will jointly operate what will, for a while, be two facilities—the existing hospital on the Texas Medical Center campus and a new facility, with the somewhat ungainly name CHI St. Luke's Health Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, on Baylor's McNair campus.

“What we're announcing today is that we're taking an historical partnership and taking it to another level with shared governance and shared management to provide cutting-edge patient care,” said Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives.

The first phase of the new facility—250 inpatient beds—is expected to open by spring 2015, with the second phase—another 400 acute-care beds—reaching completion three years later.

“We're looking at an endpoint that will ultimately be the home of adult inpatient clinical enterprises for the new St. Luke's,” said Wayne Keathley, president of CHI St. Luke's Health Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center. Keathley previously served as president of the Baylor College of Medicine Medical Center and Health Network. “As for the existing campus, we'll look at ways to use that in the future to maximize value for our patients,” Keathley said.

“This is not an affiliation agreement. This is not a merger,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, Baylor College of Medicine president and CEO. Klotman called Catholic Health Initiatives a perfect fit culturally for Baylor. “We've always felt that the medical schools needed to figure out how to be part of a larger system interested in population management,” he said.

Catholic Health Initiatives also has entered a decade-long agreement with the Texas Heart Institute. The Texas Heart Institute was founded more than 50 years ago by cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley, who was inducted into Modern Healthcare's Hall of Fame last year.

“Texas Heart Institute is taking a specific disease, the No. 1 killer worldwide, and focusing more attention on helping to eradicate heart disease and effectively treat it when it does exist,” Lofton said. “This 10-year agreement allows them to take the lead on the development of both of those kinds of research.”

Texas Heart Institute will be able to leverage Catholic Health Initiatives' clinical data, while also working with St. Luke's and Baylor to establish a cardiovascular program at the new hospital.

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden

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