UT Health Northeast, Ardent join forces, create UT Health East Texas

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - UT Health Northeast and Ardent Health Services held a press conference this morning to discuss their partnership in the creating of UT Health East Texas.

Ardent Health Services and UT Health Northeast announced a partnership that combines UT Health's hospital and clinical services with the hospitals and clinical services of East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System in September of 2017.

Ardent Health Services completed and finalized today the acquisition of ETMC and all of its affiliated hospitals, clinics, and providers. Also, they completed an agreement to partner and join forces with UT Health East Texas to form a new 10-hospital system that will serve patients throughout East Texas.

UT Health East Texas "will bring together the best of both organizations," said Moody Chisholm, President and CEO of UT Health East Texas in regards to the new partnership.

Chisholm said that by joining forces, the new system will increase convenience and expand areas of care, it will provide more access to life-saving research, and will provide more training for newcomers.

"So today we celebrate the beginning of a new era, and I can tell you that I'm honored to serve as the leader of UT Health East Texas," said Chisholm.

David Vandewater, President and CEO of Ardent Health Services, also spoke saying that UT Health East Texas "will serve ETX for generations to come."

Vandewater said that everyone involved with this partnership shares a common vision, "world-class care and advanced technology in each location."

Vandewater said $125 million was given by Ardent to support that vision "and today we begin working to make that all a reality."

There will be around 200 positions in training out of UT Health East Texas facilities which will provide jobs and research opportunities for the community.

Dr. Kirk Calhoun was announced as the new chairman of the board of directors for the system's governing body.

Calhoun stated today that the mission of this new system is simple, "We seek to improve the human condition, in Texas, in our Nation, and in the entire world."

"We have an opportunity to lever the power of university medicine to do just that," said Calhoun, "This partnership will allow us to take advantage of UT System's size, resources, and our UT Health innovation to serve our region in ways previously not imaginable."

Chisholm stated that he doesn't anticipate massive cuts in staffing but there will be reductions in staff as they "reorganize the way and restructure the way we approach health care. We anticipate it will be a small percentage of the total employee population."

Statement from UT Health East Texas:

Ardent Health Services (Ardent) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UT Health Northeast) have completed the purchase of East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (ETMC). ETMC will be combined with UT Health Northeast to form a 10-hospital system known as UT Health East Texas.

In September 2017, Ardent and The University of Texas System (UT System) announced they would partner to acquire ETMC and create a new health system to benefit East Texas. Under the terms of the partnership, Ardent will manage day-to-day operations of UT Health East Texas while working with The UT System to expand medical education, research and community health initiatives in the region. In addition to UT Health East Texas, the nationally recognized UT System includes UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and three other major health science institutions throughout the state.

"Today marks the beginning of a new era for healthcare in East Texas," said Moody Chisholm, president and CEO of UT Health East Texas. "ETMC has deep community roots and a strong history of delivering highly specialized care while UT Health Northeast is known for leading-edge research and clinical therapies, as well as its focus on training the next generation of healthcare professionals. By bringing these two outstanding institutions together with Ardent's experience operating successful community hospitals, we are uniquely positioned to deliver a higher level of care while advancing medical research and education throughout the region."

UT Health East Texas includes 10 hospitals, more than 50 physician clinics, the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 regional rehabilitation facilities, two freestanding emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, an EMS fleet of more than 45 ambulances and four helicopters, and a comprehensive seven-trauma center care network, including a Level 1. As previously announced, all entities will be renamed to reflect the UT Health East Texas brand.

"This partnership represents the best of what a university medical center brings to the communities it serves," said Dr. Kirk Calhoun, president of UT Health North Campus Tyler (formerly UT Health Northeast). "Advancing high-quality healthcare; training physicians and other healthcare, public health, and biotechnology professionals; and conducting nationally recognized research under the UT Health East Texas banner is going to transform healthcare in our region."

Ardent and the UT System will invest more than $125 million in the new UT Health East Texas health system over five years to support operations and fund improvements. The UT System will retain ownership of the UT Health North Campus Tyler (formerly UT Health Northeast) facilities, thereby reducing the need for additional capital investment from the partnership. Governance will be shared through a newly formed board of directors.

"We are honored to be part of advancing healthcare for this region," said David T. Vandewater, president and CEO of Ardent Health Services. "With an extensive regional network and the clinical resources of an academic 

health system, we have a unique opportunity to build a system around a shared vision of clinical excellence, innovation and convenience. Together with our partners, we look forward to providing these outstanding physicians, nurses and employees with the tools, resources and management support they need to succeed in today's changing healthcare environment."

UT Health East Texas marks Ardent's eighth partnership with a leading academic or not-for-profit health system. The company also maintains partnerships with Seton Healthcare, Hackensack Meridian Health, Sacred Heart Health System, the University of New Mexico Health System and The University of Kansas Health System among others. Ardent now operates 31 hospitals across seven states, including BSA Health System in Amarillo, Texas, and Seton Medical Center Harker Heights in Harker Heights, Texas.

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