CHRISTUS Santa Rosa to transform downtown campus to Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Faith-based health system commits to building
San Antonio’s first, free-standing children’s hospital
After 20 years of collaborative efforts among San Antonio health systems to partner to build a Tier 1, freestanding children’s hospital, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa received board approval Wednesday from CHRISTUS Health to transform its downtown campus to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
“It’s a new beginning for health care in San Antonio and South and Central Texas,” said Pat Carrier, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa president and CEO. “With the full backing of CHRISTUS Health ––undergirded by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and our 50-year legacy of excellence and commitment to children’s healthcare, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa will develop a financially viable, privately and philanthropically funded, separately licensed, freestanding children's hospital in the heart of downtown San Antonio.”
The $135 million, 800,000 square-foot project expansion and renovation is on a fast track, with contractors set to be in place in 60 days. “By utilizing our current campus in the heart of downtown, we take advantage of a solid infrastructure with twice as much space at one-third of the cost to build a completely new building—there’s no wholesale construction costs; and we are able to do it without the requirement to use taxpayer dollars,” said Carrier.
After University Health System terminated its Letter of Intent to partner with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa to build a freestanding children’s hospital on March 1, associates at CHRISTUS have worked fervently to solidify plans for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. “It was time for us to put our best foot forward and do what is right for our community; we have the pediatric hospital and the facilities to grow—and the support of our community,” said Carrier.
“We know it’s a bold move, but with the support of many, and with faith and conviction, we are staying true to our mission to extend our healing ministry to serve where we are most needed—our kids deserve that,” said Charlie Amato, Chairman and co-founder of Southwest Business Corporation and past chairman of the board of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System.
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is slated to be a “Best in Class,” Tier 1, comprehensive children’s hospital, and will be licensed as a freestanding children’s hospital with up to 275 beds.
“Although other health systems in San Antonio provide high-level subspecialty pediatric services, only CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital (CSRCH) comes close to a full-service hospital that incorporates clinical care, education and research,” said Marcy Doderer, administrator of CSRCH. “We’ve been caring for kids for a long time—and having one comprehensive children’s hospital will give our smallest patrons a higher level of care at a lower cost, reducing fragmentation (where patients have to go to more than one hospital or clinic to receive care).”
According to the 2011 “All Children Need Children’s Hospitals” study conducted by the Children’s Hospital Association (formerly known as NACHRI), children with complex diseases who receive care at multiple institutions face increases in the cost of care and the potential for miscommunication or duplicate tests and treatments.
“The current system is inefficient and does not position our community in the best light to retain our current base of pediatric specialists or attract the next generation of pediatric providers. They have a choice of where to practice, and competition is growing intense with other major Texas cities, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, Lubbock and El Paso having or developing comprehensive children's hospitals,” said Carrier. “Since 1968, we have been working with The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) to provide specialized care for our pediatric patients. We hope to continue that relationship, and that CHRISTUS Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will provide our premier medical school the ability to attract the best and the brightest in the medical community,” said Carrier.
As the nation’s seventh-largest city, San Antonio’s pediatric population is growing and has increased by more than 18 percent since 2000. In addition, this population is projected to grow by more than 30 percent over the next 20 years.
“A free-standing, Tier 1 Children’s Hospital not only means our kids are taken care of, but it says to the rest of the great state of Texas and the country that San Antonio is a force to be reckoned with. We have the medical expertise and business leadership that rivals the best, and we are ready to put it to the test,” said Joe Robles, USAA CEO, and board member of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital and the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital Foundation.
In addition, numerous studies have indicated that centers with higher volumes of procedures like heart surgery have better outcomes. It is not only an issue of cost, but also of quality.
“From broken bones and stitches to cancer treatment and transplants—there will be one place where our kids can go to see the best pediatric doctors and specialists. A place that helps them get better. A place they and their families feel safe,” said Doderer.
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will be the focal point for a network of pediatric services through the community. There will also be outpatient facilities and clinics throughout the region. Releasing the burden from taxpayers, the not-for-profit system will continue to serve the traditionally low-profit, high touch needs of the pediatric population. Over the last 50 years, CSRCH has developed and grown services that meet specific needs in the community, including the Center for Miracles and the forensic nurse examiner program, which meets the needs of abused and neglected children; the Comprehensive Care Clinic that was established as a medical home for complex, chronically ill children; and the Children’s Kidney Center, a full-service program for pediatric nephrology patients, providing dialysis and transplant management.
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will add a specialized Maternal Fetal Medicine program with expanded OB programs for high risk deliveries, and include amplified research capabilities to further solidify CHRISTUS’s position as the leading provider of pediatric health care.
Children’s Hospital of San Antonio’s construction schedule is multi-tiered, and is projected to take two years, allowing CHRISTUS Santa Rosa the ability to provide uninterrupted care for patients. Adult services will be transferred to other CHRISTUS Santa Rosa locations (Alamo Heights, Medical Center, New Braunfels and Westover Hills), or to any of the other acute care facilities, that have 1,100 beds with a combined average occupancy of 47 percent, located within one mile of the downtown campus.
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa has long been the safety net children’s hospital, providing care for all children regardless of ability to pay, providing millions of dollars annually in unfunded or non-reimbursable care.
“We will continue to treat all patients who come through our doors, and remain true to our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” said Sister Yolanda, CCVI, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.