The board of Dallas' public hospital, Parkland Memorial Hospital, gave tentative approval for a merger with two local hospitals and the physician group practice at the city's prestigious medical school.
The board last week approved an "agreement in principle" to merge with Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Zale Lipshy University Hospital and the physician group practice at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. The four organizations are located within blocks of each other, and Zale Lipshy, a private facility that is a teaching hospital for the medical school, is physically connected to Parkland. Parkland and Children's also are teaching hospitals for the school.
In one step toward consolidation, Children's took over operation of Parkland's 45-bed pediatric unit and 10-bed pediatric intensive-care unit earlier this year.
Under the plan, all four institutions would merge into one organization, pooling both income and debt. However, the merger is problematic because Parkland is owned by Dallas County, while Children's and Zale Lipshy are private, not-for-profit institutions. Under the plan, each hospital would retain its own board.
The four institutions earlier this year hired McKinsey & Co., a national consulting firm, to explore options such as merging or consolidating some services (March 25, p. 34). Like Parkland's board, trustees from the other institutions will vote on the merger agreement next month.
If combined, the newly merged system would operate 1,234 beds.