Christus Rolls Out New Hospital Venture in San Antonio

Christus Santa Rosa Health System plans to convert one of its outpatient surgery centers near Alamo Heights to a 35-bed surgical hospital that’s slated to open in early 2012.

The renovation and expansion of the building will cost $25 million.

While Christus will own the hospital, it will contract with a company owned by about 40 doctors to co-manage the facility — an arrangement that’s emerging as an alternative to hospitals employing or entering into joint ventures with physicians. Co-management deals are seen as a way to try to improve care while lowering costs.

“It is a huge change from the way hospitals participate in the management of hospitals,” said Dr. Michael Murphy, a member of the physicians committee developing the co-management agreement with Christus. “In a typical hospital arrangement, the doctors offer input and the administration does all the work.”

The hospital will cater to patients who require short says of two to four days.

“About 85 (percent) to 90 percent of inpatient surgeries will be done on this campus: that could be anything from hip replacements to appendectomies to gall-bladder surgery,” said Patrick B. Carrier, Christus’ president and CEO.

The hospital won’t handle more complicated procedures, such as open-heart surgery. It’s expected to employ about 100 people, with about 150 doctors on staff.

The hospital will replace the Christus Santa Rosa Physician Ambulatory Surgery Center that’s located in a 19,000-square-foot building at 403 Treeline Park. Outpatient surgeries will continue in the surgery center next door in a 31,000-square-foot building at 423 Treeline Park.

Redevelopment work on the smaller building, which Carrier said originally was built to inpatient hospital standards, will start in December. The work will include the addition of 7,000 square feet.

Christus acquired a majority stake in the two surgery centers, along with one in Stone Oak and one in the South Texas Medical Center about a year ago from Foundation Surgery Center of San Antonio. A local physicians group has a minority interest in the centers.