SSM Health has announced plans to build a brand new hospital and outpatient facility to replace Saint Louis University Hospital, as it completes the process to take the 356-bed medical center under its wing. SSM officials made the surprise announcement on Tuesday morning, the first day of new ownership.
“One of the key things about the new building will be the opportunity to design it from the patient’s point of view and really to provide that outpatient platform that this facility wasn’t designed for,” said Kate Becker, SSM’s newly installed president of SLU hospital, in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio. The hospital's former CEO, Phillip Sowa, announced his departure in July.
Becker said she’s not sure yet what will happen to the SLU hospital’s existing building, a distinctive structure from the 1930s. But she said that a new hospital would be more cost effective.
“This physical facility has been on this campus since 1933,” Becker said. “Renovation of an 80-year-old building would be a very expensive proposition.”
Becker said that the hospital will make a $500 million investment over five years and the new facility will be located on Grand Boulevard, near the existing hospital. In 2012, St. Louis University received approval from the city to demolish a historic dairy complex to build an outpatient center for its SLUCare physicians practice.
SSM, a Catholic health-care system based in Creve Coeur, acquired the SLU hospital from Tenet Healthcare Corp. in a three-way deal. Tenet sold the facility back to Saint Louis University, which then transferred it to SSM. St. Louis University maintained a minority financial interest and governance rights over the hospital in the transaction, which was finalized Sept. 1.
SSM Health is in the process of recruiting 180 positions at SLU Hospital, including nurses and lab techs, Becker said. Because SLU hospital is an academic medical center, the doctors there are employees of Saint Louis University.
Becker said she expects the new hospital and outpatient facility to be completed in September 2020.
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