UT Health San Antonio and University Health System have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to create a top-tier integrated health delivery system to improve care throughout Bexar County.
The plan considers how the two partnering, yet independent, organizations will work together in a more integrated way to expand access of high-quality health care. The MOU establishes a partnership with the purpose of building a superior and financially sustainable integrated health care network to include growing inpatient and outpatient services, as well as academic and research programming, to better serve the health needs of the community.
The integrated health delivery system will be non-profit and synonymous with the best and most comprehensive patient care and medical education. Clinical training opportunities will be expanded for medical, nursing, dental and other health professional students, supporting UT Health San Antonio’s educational mission.
The MOU signed by the partners commits the parties to work collaboratively in creating a definitive agreement that will delineate the components in the new system of care. Some aspects of this new integrated delivery system, which are anticipated to be integral in the association, include the planned UT Heath San Antonio Multispecialty and Research Hospital. While the financial operations of UT Health and UHS will continue to be separate, the parties are exploring a joint venture operational plan for the UT Health San Antonio hospital and future University Health System facilities to ensure seamless and complementary operations.
“An integrated system will be an important win for the people of San Antonio as we deliver the best provider care in the most modern facilities, unified by interfacing electronic medical records, and patients will have access to leading-edge technologies and clinical trials,” said William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of UT Health San Antonio. “Accomplishing this will mean that fewer patients find it necessary to ever leave San Antonio for the most sophisticated care.”
“This agreement strengthens our partnership with UT Health San Antonio and will be a blueprint for future joint endeavors,” said George B. Hernandez Jr., president and chief executive officer of University Health System. “This new system will offer substantial benefits to our patients, including more access to services and providers, and an integrated patient medical record. This is an exciting time for both organizations as we grow and advance our national reputation.”
“Congratulations to UT Health San Antonio and University Health System on this newest agreement,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. “This expansion of a half-century-old academic partnership will greatly benefit the people of Bexar County. This partnership is an economic engine that involves two of our largest employers, and the resulting health delivery system will be a valuable factor in helping us to attract companies that look to relocate to our area.”
UT Health San Antonio and University Health System have been collaborators since the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and University Hospital both opened in 1968. UT Health San Antonio later expanded to five professional schools to include the School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and School of Health Professions. University Health System is an essential partner in UT Health San Antonio’s educational programming.
In July, University Health System transitioned its electronic medical record to Epic, the same EMR used by UT Health San Antonio clinical practices. The availability of patient information to physicians across the integrated system, through Epic, will result in more efficient, seamless care for patients regardless of their point of entry into the system.
In keeping with the principles of an integrated and efficient system, health care services will not be duplicated. Primary goals revolve around improving the patient experience of care, being most efficient with health care investments and improving the overall health of the population.