Texas Medical Center, Houston, rejected a plea by Baylor College of Medicine to block the expansion plans of Baylor's former partner, Methodist Hospital. The covenant committee of the vast medical complex, which hosts 42 facilities, ruled Methodist could continue an 11-month-old research and education partnership with Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System and pursue additional research affiliations, a Methodist spokeswoman said. The medical school argued Methodist violated deed covenants for membership in the center.
Baylor in a written statement said it disagreed with the decision and the committee's interpretation of the intent of the Texas Medical Center's founders, but "it is clear that the decision reflects the direction (the medical center) believes it should take in the future. Consequently, Baylor will respect that decision and continue to support the (medical center) institutions as a whole as it always has." In an e-mail to employees, Methodist Chief Executive Officer Ronald Girotto praised the decision. "This decision affirms the research and education initiatives of our 2010 Leading Medicine vision that we launched more than a year ago to become a top tier academic medical center," he wrote. Baylor and Methodist ended a 50-year affiliation last year, and Baylor recently entered into merger negotiations with St. Luke's Episcopal Health System, which also has a hospital at the center. -- by Melanie Evans