culmination of a long dream of a free standing, Tier One world class Children's Hospital in San Antonio
After twenty years of planning, discussing, and occasionally fighting, the region's first free standing children's hospital becomes a reality today as CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital downtown opens as a facility dedicated solely to children, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"This has been a move filled with mixed emotions," says Patrick Carrier, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System President and CEO. "We are sad to see the end of a legacy of serving adults at our City Centre Campus, however, we are excited to continue the mission the sisters began years ago by creating a world class hospital to serve the children of San Antonio and South Central Texas."
The plan is for a major upgrade of the downtown facility, which is best known for its beautiful Jesse Trevino mural, and the completed Children's Hospital of San Antonio, on ten acres and comprised of 800,000 square feet, will be ready by the summer of 2014.
But CHRISTUS is not wasting any time making the transition to a completely pediatric hospital. All adult services have been closed, and the hospital is now open only for pediatric care. Carrier points out that adult services are available at the other CHRISTUS locations around the region, and representatives of University Health System, Methodist Health System, and the Baptist Hospital System, accounted this week they are expanding downtown services to meet adult demand.
Carrier says the new freestanding hospital will include a dedicated children's emergency room with will be upgraded to Level One trauma status. Additionally, it plans to have an open staff model that welcomes academic and private physicians while continuing an academic and medical school affiliation.
The demolition of some exterior buildings will begin later this month, and interior construction will begin in the fall. CHRISTUS says it is investing $135 million to build Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, and with the current value of the land and buildings set at $240 million, the total value of the Tier One, World Class Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is set at $375 million. An additional $15 million is earmarked to build a network of pediatric practices and subspecialty clinics.
Today's move seems to end the lengthy debate over which hospital system or which combination of systems will build the long awaited Children's Hospital. There had been some talk of other hospital systems partnering with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to build what was indelicately referred to as an 'outpost' of CHOP in San Antonio. But the region is unlikely to be able to economically support two separate Tier One children's hospitals.
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital Administrator Marcy Doderer says the new facility has big plans.
"The facilities will help support a growing need for diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and cancer research in children," she said. "In addition, we will increase our nationally-recognized programs of excellence including our pediatric kidney program, dialysis, and transplant management, pediatric cardiac program, as well as our pediatric thoracic and spinal disease/titanium rib program."