UT Southwestern President Dr. Daniel Podolsky made it official during Wednesday’s campus briefing: The University of Texas Board of Regents approved the new pediatric campus that will be operated by UTSW and Children’s Health’s joint pediatric venture.
In Wednesday’s address, Podolsky said, “I am pleased to note that we have received approval from our board of regents to proceed in partnership with Children’s Health System of Texas with the construction of a pediatric campus. We will be following this project over the next six years as an ambitious undertaking, and I look forward to giving you periodic updates on the progress.”
Children’s Health and UTSW haven’t said much about the details of the hospital, which are likely to change from the original solicitation documents, about which D CEO Healthcare reported in January. The RFQ documents sent to construction companies from the health systems described a $2.5 billion project with 532 beds and a labor and delivery department, which the current children’s hospital doesn’t have. It noted an emergency department with 90 bays and 90 newborn intensive care unit beds. Children’s Medical Center Dallas currently has 490 beds.
The hospital will be operated under the joint pediatric enterprise, a partnership between Children’s Health and UTSW that further integrates the two organizations. In an email to staff, Podolsky said the planning of the new campus “will accelerate as our joint pediatric experience enables our two organizations to work together to provide care to children and support their families. The new hospital and expanded ambulatory services will advance our pediatric care strategic plans and strengthen our longstanding partnership with Children’s.”
The original RFQ document said that construction would begin next year, and Podolsky’s statement this week, said he will be watching it for the next six years. Earlier this year, UTSW imploded what had been Exchange Park across the street from UTSW’s Clements University Hospital. In an earlier address Podolsky said the new pediatric campus would be built where Exchange Park once stood.
Other than the campus briefings and RFQ documents, the systems have only provided the following statement about the new campus. “Our joint pediatric enterprise is always pursuing opportunities to bolster capacity to provide care in response to record population growth and demand for pediatric specialty services in North Texas. To meet these needs, we are exploring a possible new pediatric campus. Specific details on a project of this magnitude are not final, or approved, and may not be for some time. We look forward to sharing accurate, finalized information with the community if it is approved by both our institutions and associated boards.”
When asked about the board of regents approval, Children’s Health did not have any new information and UT Southwestern did not respond before publication.
Poolsky’s address thanked two UTSW staffers for their leadership on the project. He noted Dr. Maeve Sheehan, UTSW’s vice chair for clinical operations, and Kim McCully, vice president of clinical programming and facility development at UTSW. Sheehan spoke at a 2019 D CEO Healthcare breakfast panel focusing on women leaders in medicine.
In the address, Podolsky said the goal of the campus is to provide the “best environment for the care of pediatric patients and support of their families.”