Tyler, Texas' Medical Mergers are Fostering Health Care Options

Multiple provider transitions aim to centralize, improve care

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Tyler, TX
Courtesy of Tyler Junior College

The health-care landscape in Tyler and East Texas continues to change dramatically with mergers and acquisitions impacting all the area’s major providers.

Just last year, Ardent Health Services, East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (ETMC) and the University of Texas System, which includes the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UT Health Northeast) joined to form a large, multifaceted health system for East Texas. Ardent is assuming majority ownership and day-to-day operations of the newly formed 10-hospital health system.

“By coming together to form this new health system, we can improve access to care for people throughout East Texas,” says Tyra Palmer, Ardent Health Service’s vice president of marketing and government relations. “With the geographic reach of ETMC and the clinical and educational resources available through the UT Health System, the goal is to provide more patients with access to leading-edge research and clinical therapies while advancing medical education and community health throughout our region.”

ETMC, based in Tyler, includes the 502-bed East Texas Medical Center-Tyler and a network of nine hospitals and 39 clinics, including regional hospitals. Two other local inpatient facilities, the ETMC Rehabilitation Hospital and the ETMC Specialty Hospital, are included in the new system.

“For more than six decades, ETMC has reached out to East Texas, fulfilling its mission of maximizing health-care services to our region,” says Rebecca Berkley, ETMC spokesperson. “ETMC believes East Texans heal better in their own communities.”

In the merger, the University of Texas System, one of the largest academic and health systems in the country, contributes its Tyler-based UT Health Northeast Hospital and 12 physician clinic operations to the new system.

“Our focus at UT System and UT Health Northeast will be on expanding educational opportunities, including training more physicians, nurses, and other health-care professionals for our region and beyond,” says Kirk Calhoun, M.D., president of UT Health Northeast. “We also believe that the new partnership will foster research that can improve patient outcomes and promote community health in East Texas.”

A Busy Year

Also in 2017, Texas Spine & Joint Hospital joined the Baylor Scott & White Health System, a merger that included a third entity, United Surgical Partners Incorporated, a health-care management company.

“The high level of care and courtesy our patients receive remains the same,” says Jess Mowery, R.N., director of marketing for Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital.

This merger is planned to enable physicians and other caregivers to provide patients throughout East Texas with increasingly coordinated care, and allow providers to easily access quality clinical resources. Mowery says the merger is improving access to the hospital by enabling it to accept additional insurance plans.

Currently, the hospital is focusing on improvements to urgent care and sports medicine and wellness. In early 2018 Mowery says the hospital became the site of Project Rose Research Institute for Sports Science, a collaboration with local NFL legends Earl Campbell and Gary Baxter, who worked together to create the research lab for sports medicine and therapy services.

Faith-based Care

The first recent major change in local health care occurred in 2016 with the acquisition of the Trinity Mother Frances system by Irving-based CHRISTUS Health, an international not-for-profit health system.

The new CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System serves a 41-county area. Mother Frances Hospital has served East Texans for more than 80 years and is a 402-bed, acute care facility offering a range of services and Tyler’s only neonatal intensive care unit. It has been named the No. 1 hospital in Texas for overall care by CareChex. Construction on the hospital's Bradley-Thompson Tower is planned for 2018 to greatly increase the ability to treat growing numbers of patients in the system’s Emergency Care Center and ICU’s.

“One of the central goals in joining with CHRISTUS Health in 2016 was to provide improved access to world-class, faith-based health care for the people of Tyler and Northeast Texas,” says Will Knouse, spokesperson for CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System. “We constantly seek to expand the capacity and ability to meet the ever-growing health-care needs of Northeast Texans through increased resources and innovative services.”

“Our focus at UT System and UT Health Northeast will be on expanding educational opportunities, including training more physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals for our region and beyond. We also believe that the new partnership will foster research that can improve patient outcomes and promote community health in East Texas.”

Kirk Calhoun, MD

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 20:58