Stung by two failed partnerships yet buoyed by nearly half a billion dollars in donations, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston broke ground in May on a teaching hospital and clinic that will feature such cutting-edge technology as an integrated electronic medical-record system.
When the 256-bed first phase opens in 2010, the Baylor Clinic and Hospital will feature advanced medical and surgical care, a variety of outpatient clinics, 300 faculty offices and a 19,000-square-foot research area. The $568 million integrated healthcare facility is to be located on a 35-acre campus on the grounds of the world-famous Texas Medical Center. Eventually the hospital is slated to have 600 licensed beds and 2.6 million square feet.
This is the first time in Texas that a hospital, outpatient clinic and diagnostic services will be linked with an EMR built at the same time on an electronic platform, says Peter Traber, M.D., Baylors chief executive officer.
Baylors decision to build its own hospital follows a major falling out with 910-bed Methodist Hospital, Houston, in 2004 over the medical schools decision to build its own outpatient clinic. Subsequent efforts to merge with or purchase 709-bed St. Lukes Episcopal Hospital in Houston in 2006 also failed to develop a mutually satisfactory partnership.
Baylor faculty physicians and scientists need a place to work, Traber says. Having control over a hospital and colleges own destiny is critical to our future.
Some 100 residents and 225 medical students are expected to be trained at the new hospital. Overall, Baylor faculty trains 1,200 residents at its 10 affiliated hospitals and clinics. The medical school is ranked No. 10 on U.S. News & World Reports Top Medical Schools list for research and No. 11 for primary care, with 672 enrolled students.
Traber says Baylor chose to build its own hospital after St. Lukes decided to focus its financial resources on building suburban hospitals. We wanted to work with St. Lukes to develop an academic medical center with the goal to raise St. Lukes to be on the honor roll of U.S. News & World Reports best hospitals, he says. They chose a different strategic direction.
Baylors move to build its own hospital is somewhat unusual, says the American Association of Medical Colleges. Of the nations seven independent medical colleges, including Baylor, only two own their own hospitalsAlbany (N.Y.) Medical College and Mayo Medical College, Rochester, Minn., an AAMC spokeswoman says. Another 40 of the nations 125 medical schools own hospitals through their parent universities.
But Traber says Baylor is the only medical school in the U.S. News & World Report top 20 that doesnt meet the AAMCs definition of an academic medical centerone that owns a hospital or whose department chairs head those departments at an affiliated hospital.
Facing major financial losses during the 1990s, a number of universities with medical schools sold their hospitals, including Tulane University, George Washington University and the University of Minnesota. Recently, however, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine announced it is considering buying nearby 350-bed Cedars Medical Center, Miami. In addition, several universities, including Stanford University and the University of Southern California, are planning replacement hospitals.
Traber says the medical school will pay for the project with its building fund, donations and bonds. Over the past three years, Baylor has collected $492 million through fundraising.
This is an operationally and financially feasible project, Traber says. We will be successful in this marketplace because we will add quality and value.
Traber says the hospital plans to measure outcomes and publish a full range of quality reports on its Web site. We wont have a large market share, but we will be a destination of outstanding value and quality, he says.
While the hospital will offer clinical service lines that include cardiology, neurology, oncology and transplantation, Traber says the hospital will emphasize gene-based medicine, a new technique that uses a patients own genetic makeup to develop personalized drug therapies.
Biomedical research is our foundation, Traber says. We have the largest research organization in the greater Southwest, and the No. 1 funded genomics program in the nation. This basic science and biomedical foundation will be fully integrated into our programs.