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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Saint Louis University Hospital returns to its Catholic roots today. It`s now part of the SSM Healthcare System.
Saint Louis University Hospital opened in the 1930s, thanks in part to the Sisters of Saint Mary. However, for the past 17 years, the hospital was owned an operated by Dallas-based hospital chain Tenet. It`s a for-profit publicly traded company which also operates Des Peres Hospital.
The sale to Tenet was originally seen as a way to save SLU's medical school, but tension grew between the company and Catholic University over the years, especially because tenet didn`t establish a broader local hospital network. That`s something that SSM already has.
In June, SLU announced it would buy its hospital back from Tenet, then transfer the hospital to SSM. This will be SSM's first academic hospital. The president of SSM Health says adding SLU Hospital to their network will help provide better care for its patients.
The transition was officially commemorated at SLU Hospital Tuesday morning. That’s when SSM Health President & CEO Bill Thompson made a big announcement: the construction of a brand new hospital and outpatient care center to replace SLU’s aging facilities. He said, “As part of this transaction we have recognized that this is not the facility that can continue to provide high class, contemporary academic care into the future. So today I am announcing that SSM Health will be building a brand new hospital.”
The 500 million-dollar project, funded by SSM Health, is slated for completion in 5 years. Mayor Francis Slay, Archbishop Robert Carlson and SLU President Fred Pestello, among other community and hospital leaders, spoke about the implications of adding this academic hospital to SSM Health.
SLU Hospital President Kate Becker spoke about the implications of building a brand new facility: “I think it’ll be a very positive impact, first of all, for the community in which we serve, because they will see expanded access to healthcare services on this campus. It’s also a positive impact for the city because it will bring more jobs to the area and it provides a good economic engine of growth.”
Design of the new facility is just beginning, and construction will likely begin in two years. The new hospital will be located along Grand; the exact spot to be determined.