AUSTIN, Texas – (June 18, 2013) – Ascension Seton today announced it has received authorization from its parent company, Ascension Health, to construct a new teaching hospital to replace University Medical Center Brackenridge. You can see more photos from the news conference, held atop the UMC Brackenridge garage, by clicking here.
The facility will be owned and operated by Ascension Seton and will become the primary training facility for the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Construction of the new hospital is expected to begin in 2014, with completion slated for 2017.
Ascension Seton also announced that it selected the Dallas firm HKS, Inc. to be the lead architect for the project.
Ascension Seton will invest $245 million toward construction and spearhead efforts to raise another $50 million via philanthropy. Ascension Seton used a similar approach to fund the construction of Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
The new teaching hospital will be built on the north side of 15th Street, across from University Medical Center Brackenridge. The land, owned by UT Austin, will be leased to Central Health, Travis County’s health care district, which in turn will sub-lease the land to Ascension Seton at fair market value.
“By passing Proposition 1 in November of last year, Travis County voters pledged their support for a higher standard of health care, expanded services and greater accessibility,” said Jesús Garza, Ascension Seton president and chief executive officer. “Now, it is Ascension Seton’s turn to show its support by building and paying for a new teaching hospital that we believe will rival any in the nation.”
The teaching hospital also will be an integral part of the Community Care Collaborative, an agreement between Ascension Seton and Central Health that will fundamentally change the delivery of health care services in Central Texas.
“The new teaching hospital represents an important part of our community’s safety net, but up until now UMC Brackenridge has been the principle safety net option for the poor and vulnerable,” said Greg Hartman, Ascension Seton president of Academic Medicine, Research and External Affairs. “But that’s about to change. Along with Central Health, UT Austin and the UT System, we will create an entire safety net system.
“The center of the system will be the new teaching hospital, but we won’t have to rely on a single location. Demographics are constantly changing. Poor and vulnerable residents live throughout Central Texas, a shift since the era in which Brackenridge was built and expanded. The Community Care Collaborative safety net will ultimately include all Ascension Seton facilities so we can better serve the entire region,” Hartman said.
Despite projections of continued population growth, the new teaching hospital will be roughly the same size as the current UMC Brackenridge.
“We feel confident that our transformed system will guide patients and families to the appropriate care, reducing unnecessary admissions to a hospital and trips to the emergency department,” Hartman said.
Charles Barnett, executive board chair, Ascension Seton Board of Trustees, noted Ascension Seton’s successes in bringing other state-of-the-art facilities to Central Texas.
“Ascension Seton has a track record for opening hospitals on time and within budget – each was a product of Ascension Seton investment and philanthropy,” Barnett said. “What makes the new teaching hospital so exciting is the collaborative nature of the care that Ascension Seton, Central Health and UT will provide.
“The whole will be truly greater than the sum of the parts,” Barnett said. “What we can do individually is impressive. What we can do as partners is transformational.”