Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to Abandon San Antonio Hospital Plans

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has decided to back out of a partnership project that would have created a $350 million, 250-bed freestanding children's hospital in San Antonio.

Last September, CHOP, Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard Health Systems and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio announced the plans to build a children's hospital adjacent to UT Medicine San Antonio. CHOP would have provided the pediatric knowhow in one of the largest cities without a freestanding children's hospital; Vanguard, funded by private equity firm Blackstone Group, would have provided the capital; and UTHSC would have provided the locale and clinical affiliation.

CHOP Director of Public Relations George Bochanski Jr. issued an emailed statement, saying the current merger between Vanguard and Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. threw a wrench into the plans. Tenet owns St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia — CHOP's primary competitor.

"CHOP and Tenet actively compete in the Philadelphia market, which presents ethical and practical obstacles to continuing in partnership with Vanguard at this time," the statement read. "Regretfully, CHOP has chosen to withdraw from the San Antonio project under the existing terms of the agreement."

CHOP's statement went on to say: "In our relationships with our partners, and in our conversations with the leaders of the medical and civic communities, we have said that our primary goal was to deliver the same medical excellence to the children of San Antonio as we do for children in Philadelphia. We regret that current circumstances will prevent us from being part of that effort presently."

In a response posted on KSAT, Tenet said it still believes its partnership with UTHSC is "viable."

"Vanguard/Tenet remains 100 percent committed to building a world-class, freestanding children's hospital in the South Texas Medical Center in conjunction with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio," according to the statement. "While we are disappointed with [CHOP's] withdrawal from the initiative, we also understand that Tenet's competing children's hospital there, St. Christopher's, made moving forward in San Antonio a more difficult undertaking."

William L. Henrich, MD, president of UTHSC at San Antonio, provided the following comment: "The news that Tenet is buying Vanguard, and subsequently that CHOP could not work with its direct competitor, means that we are obligated to carefully examine all of our partnership opportunities. As we do that, we continue to transition toward the new children's hospital and outpatient network and the greater goal of raising the level of pediatric care for all families in San Antonio and south Texas."

More Articles on Hospital Partnerships:
Consolidation Nation: Where Will the Hospital Industry Stand After the Tenet-Vanguard Merger?
Virginia Commonwealth University Physicians Argue Over New Children's Hospital
Capella Healthcare, Mercy Health Deal Crumbles

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