TEXAS: Diocese approves transfer of hospital

$1 billion health foundation to be established

By EDOT staff
Posted Apr 19, 2013

[Diocese of Texas] The Episcopal Diocese of Texas approved today a definitive agreement for the transfer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System to Catholic Health Initiatives, a nationally recognized health care system.

As part of the transfer of St. Luke’s, CHI will contribute more than $1 billion to create a new Episcopal Health Foundation, which will focus on the unmet health needs of the area’s underserved population.  In addition, CHI has committed an additional $1 billion for future investment in the health system. The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, said in announcing the decision, “We are humbled to be able to preserve the legacy of St. Luke’s, while also expanding the Diocesan commitment to health care.”

The name of the system will be the St. Luke’s Health System.  The transaction is expected to be completed early this summer, subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals. The agreement includes the entire Health System: the Texas Medical Center campus, as well as suburban hospital locations in The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Pasadena and The Vintage.  CHI has committed to maintain all current physician models and all employees will continue to be employed by St. Luke’s.  In addition, CHI will continue to grow and enhance St. Luke’s significant affiliations with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Heart® Institute, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The 11-month evaluation process undertaken by the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System Board included 30 prospective local and national partners with multiple strategic alternatives and, in March, this list was narrowed to three well-qualified finalists.   “We are enormously grateful to all participants for their earnest and forthright effort throughout this process,” said The Rt. Rev. Dena A. Harrison, bishop suffragan and chair of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System Board.

CHI became the choice because it brings many benefits to the community:

  • CHI operates across the continuum of care that is so key to the new model in American health care delivery.
  • CHI brings cultural compatibility with the St. Luke’s brand of Faithful, Loving Care®.
  • CHI values the people who made St. Luke’s what it is today: our patients, our physicians, our employees, our affiliates, our management, our donors and our Board leadership.

“The relationship with Catholic Health Initiatives ensures the Greater Houston area will retain one of its great healthcare institutions, while best preparing St. Luke’s to meet future changes in healthcare,” said Kevin Lofton, CHI president and CEO.

While this decision means the Episcopal Diocese of Texas will no longer provide acute care, the Diocese remains committed to its health care mission through the new Episcopal Health Foundation.

“This new foundation will address a widening gap in healthcare throughout our 57-county area,” Doyle said.  “There is a care vacuum that must be addressed, including access to health care, prevention, community and environmental health, poverty, education and health disparities,” he said, adding, “This direction reflects the initial vision of Bishops Quin and Hines in founding St. Luke’s.  They called upon ‘all the mountain-moving powers of faith and prayer and human skill which can be brought to bear on individuals in need.’”


Comments (6)

  1. Les Singleton says:

    Will the employees have any changes in their personal health plans regarding contraception and abortion issues?

  2. The Rev. Harriet B. Linville says:

    my question also.

  3. The Very Rev. Stuart Schadt says:

    A very sad day. There is no doubt that this a blow to the rights of women who are employees and who are patients.

  4. Grace Burson says:

    My thoughts exactly.

  5. Peter Salmon says:

    Health insurance is a major expense for our small parish. I’ve thought for a long time that we could all save money if the national church established a nation-wide plan to cover all employees. I’ve been looking forward to the results of the decision to implement such a program in June. I understood that it was mandatory for all dioceses. How then can Texas take a different road? And how will that affect premiums for the rest of us?

  6. Fr. Sidney Breese says:

    This is an unsettling development and one wonders what will happen to our St. Luke’s in Kansas City, MO. The Episcopal Church has had a long standing presence in health care for many years. And this ministry has been appreciated by our society. The Diocese of Utah sold out some years ago and has used the monies to fund ministry in the diocese. Other dioceses have also sold out to other providers. It is very tempting when you have a very valuable asset, to sell it the the highest bidder. But I really think that we need to look at our priorities. Selling health care assets may seem like a way to raise funds for other ministries, but our presence in this ministry is different than other religious organizations. CHI has an agenda which is not in keeping with our values and in the end we will loose our control over those values. I would hope and pray that the diocese and Bishop would rethink this decision and come to a more compassionate and value driven decision. I realize that billions of dollars are at stake, but a peculiar moral compass in our society is also at stake.

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