The nation’s top ranked Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia now confirms it has opted out of its agreement with Vanguard Health Systems and the UT Health Science Center of San Antonio to build a children’s hospital in the South Texas Medical Center.
In an email, CHOP spokesman George Bochanski Jr. said the decision was based on the announced acquisition of Vanguard by competitor Tenet Healthcare of Dallas that also a children’s hospital in Philadelphia.
Bochanski said that fact “presents ethical and practical obstacles to continuing in partnership with Vanguard at this time.”
He also said, “Regretfully, CHOP has chosen to withdraw from the San Antonio project under the existing terms of the agreement.”
In an emailed statement of their own, Vanguard/Tenet also expressed disappointment that CHOP had withdrawn from the deal.
“We also understand that Tenet’s competing children’s hospital there, St. Christopher’s, made moving forward in San Antonio a more difficulty undertaking,” the statement read.
But it also said Vanguard/Tenet remain “100 percent committed” to building a world-class, freestanding children’s hospital, in conjunction with the UTHSC of San Antonio.
“A joint partnership is still a very viable one that has incredible potential to radically and positively transform the delivery of children’s healthcare in San Antonio and South Texas,” the statement read.
Dr. Thomas Mayes, who chairs the UTHSC department of pediatrics, said he had hoped the original partnership would have come to pass.
“The recent acquisition of Vanguard by Tenet changed the nature of those relationships,” Mayes said.
He said that’s why CHOP is pulling out of the deal came as no surprise.
Mayes said UTHSC now is considering Baptist Health Systems and Tenet as potential partners, or University Health Systems.
He said the medical school’s residents already are in the midst of a year-long transition to University Hospital from the former Christus Santa Rosa downtown where it is now building the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
“The pipeline for pediatricians into our community is not in limbo. It’s extraordinarily strong,” Mayes said.
He said its general pediatric clinic is now at the newly rebuilt Robert B. Green clinic downtown that has the city’s only comprehensive electronic health record system.
Mayes said the pediatric pulmonology clinic will move there as well.
“In the next six months, we will move all clinical operations from the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio to the Robert B. Green campus for outpatients and University Hospital for in-patients,” Mayes said.
He also said the pediatric heart program will begin at University Hospital in the fall.
Mayes said the residents will be transitioned again once the new children’s hospital is built.
He said, “The only unknown is exactly who those partners will be.”