When UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources announced their collaboration around five years ago, it was mostly theoretical. THR would provide reach into outlying communities, and UTSW would provide access to expertise from one of the leading medical centers in the world.
The two organizations launched their first hospital last December in Frisco. Texas Health Frisco is a 325,000 square-foot, 80 bed, $270 million dollar hospital with a 120,000 square-foot medical office building that includes multi-specialty clinics, an addition to the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and an expansion of the breast and colon cancer programs through the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
With THR owning 51 percent of the hospital and UTSW owning 49 percent, how will these two healthcare behemoths work together? In a conversation with Texas Health Frisco CEO Brett Lee, we learned more about how the collaboration is working now that the hospital is open.
UTSW will bring its world class faculty and outstanding medical expertise to create a multi-disciplinary and academic approach to care, allowing Frisco patients to can go see specialists they need in a multi-disciplinary clinic. THR will provide a warm and welcoming community hospital that avoids what can be a stressful navigation of a large urban medical center. Lee hopes the facility will be an engaging place for clinicians to work that also produce quality outcomes.
The medical staff at the hospital will be an open model comprising local independent physicians, UTSW faculty and Texas Health Physicians Group providers. Lee will report to a board consisting of both UTSW and THR leadership who have integrated oversight. The facility will look and act like other THR facilities but will have a strong presence of UTSW faculty. “It’s an innovative partnership that I am not sure you would have seen come together a decade ago,” Lee says. “These partnerships make a lot of sense in growing suburbs.”
The hospital staff will be THR and the faculty will be UTSW, though there will also be some employed THR physicians, mainly in primary care and internal medicine. “We have had a really nice response from community and a large contingent of community-based providers,” Lee says. “We are creating something that is really unique.”
Some service lines will be shared, with others more clearly delineated. The neurosciences program will be run by UTSW, but the women services will be run with community provider groups. UTSW is no stranger to shared coverage, as they have a similar set up with Children’s Health, where most of the physician’s who work in the pediatric hospital are UTSW faculty, while other providers and administrative roles are Children’s Health employees. In Frisco, UTSW was more integrated into the design of the hospital and how the coverage would be handled. “This is the most visible partnering from clinical care perspective,” Lee says.
“My philosophy is that when you are in a new venture like this with two aligned partners, open communication is probably best early on,” Lee says. There was an active steering committee populated by people from both organizations that helped plan the facility, each with granular input on the opening plan.
“It is an opportunity to create a new model of care and take the very best of the very best of both organizations,” Lee says. “That opportunity doesn’t come along too often in a career. If we blend all of that and do it well, then we are going to do something special here.”