ETMC to partner with Ardent, UT Health System to form new health system

TYLER, Texas (KETK) - On Wednesday, the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System announced they had selected Ardent Health Services and The University of Texas System, which includes UT Health Northeast, to form a new health system to benefit East Texas.

Ardent will assume majority ownership and day-to-day operations of the new system. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Based in Tyler, ETMC includes 502-bed East Texas Medical Center Tyler and a network of nine hospitals and 39 clinics, including regional hospitals located in Athens, Carthage, Henderson, Jacksonville, Pittsburg and Quitman.

Additionally, in Tyler, two other inpatient facilities, the ETMC Rehabilitation Hospital and the ETMC Specialty
Hospital, are included in the new health system. Other assets include the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 regional
rehabilitation facilities, physician clinics, two freestanding emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, a behavioral health center and a comprehensive 7-trauma center care network, including a Level 1.

In February 2017, ETMC leadership began the search for a strategic partner to assist the organization in continuing its mission of improving the health and quality of life for East Texans.

“After a deliberate and thoughtful process, our Board of Directors is pleased to select Ardent Health Services and the University of Texas System as the right partners for ETMC to take up our mission of care,” said Elmer G. Ellis, president and CEO of ETMC. “This acquisition will allow ETMC to grow and thrive in the East Texas region, with new partners who can best provide the necessary clinical expertise, operational proficiency, employee development and financial resources to deliver the best care possible for our patients.”

The UT System will contribute its Tyler-based UT Health Northeast hospital and 12 physician clinic operations to the new 10-hospital system. The newly created health system will expand medical education, research and community health. It will be an affiliate of the world-renowned University of Texas System, one of the largest academic and health systems in the country.

“We are delighted to partner with UT Health Northeast and the dedicated physicians, nurses and employees of
ETMC,” said David T. Vandewater, president and CEO of Ardent Health Services. “At Ardent, we strongly believe in the value of partnerships that bring out the best in each organization. We each share a focus on service and a commitment to providing quality care to the communities we serve. Together, we will continue the great legacy of ETMC.”

The partnership will invest $150 million for improvements over five years and provide other resources to support the operation of this newly created health system. Governance will be shared through a newly formed board of directors, which will include local physicians. Proceeds from the transaction will be used to create a local foundation to further the health and wellness of East Texans. The transaction is expected to close following the completion of due diligence and required regulatory approvals.

“Once approved by the UT System Board of Regents, this combination will bring unique synergies to the East Texas healthcare landscape,” said Kevin Eltife, former state senator and Tyler mayor, and current member of the UT System Board of Regents. “The great benefit of these three organizations coming together will be that East Texans will enjoy the best of all possible worlds. A great national healthcare system will be integrated with a regional powerhouse in healthcare delivery and a leader in health education and research.”

“We are honored to be a part of this new regional health system,” said Kirk Calhoun, MD, president of UT Health Northeast. “Our focus at UT System and UT Health Northeast will be on expanding educational opportunities, including training more physicians, nurses, and other healthcare 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.”

Ardent currently operates 20 hospitals in six states, including 445-bed BSA Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, and 83-bed Seton Medical Center Harker Heights in Harker Heights, Texas. The partnership marks Ardent’s eighth joint venture with a leading not-for-profit health system and its second this year. Ardent maintains joint ventures with institutions such as Seton Healthcare, Hackensack Meridian Health Network and Sacred Heart Health System. In May, the company announced plans to partner with The University of Kansas Health System to purchase St. Francis Health in Topeka, Kansas.


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