SSM Health Saint Louis University moves forward with academic medical center plan

August 1, 2016


SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is sharing additional details for its $550 million academic medical center, a 316-bed, replacement hospital and outpatient care center that will be built just to the north of the existing hospital in St. Louis.

The more than 800,000-square-foot outpatient center and hospital will have fewer inpatient beds than the current 365-bed hospital, in keeping with the national shift toward reducing inpatient hospital beds and providing more outpatient services, said Kate Becker, Saint Louis University Hospital president. The price tag also has increased as the planning has progressed.

The master facility plan unveiled on June 20 shows the replacement hospital will have larger intensive care units and an expanded emergency department, as compared to the current hospital. The hospital will remain a Level 1 trauma center and continue its organ transplant program.

The next step in planning the facility involves schematic design, and Becker said project developers will visit other academic medical centers to assess what design features best accommodate patient care and provide for ready access to critical services.

The new medical center will include additional clinical space for SLUCare physician practices and dedicated educational space to train future health practitioners. SLUCare is the academic medical practice of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. The existing hospital is just north of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, a 190-bed pediatric hospital. Collaborative work between Saint Louis University Hospital and Cardinal Glennon will continue after the new hospital opens, Becker said.

Services offered in the new outpatient center will include an existing outpatient bone marrow transplant program, which Becker said is one of just a handful of such programs in the U.S. Patients can stay nearby in apartment-style accommodations, providing convenient access to health care support services and more freedom than the typical inpatient hospital stay allows during this process.

Work is expected to begin on the new hospital complex in the fall of 2017, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 1, 2020. No decision has been made about the future use for the existing hospital's Desloge Tower, Becker said. Some preservationists in the area want the tower, a well-known St. Louis building with a distinctive copper roof, to be preserved, according to media reports.

SSM Health committed to building the new hospital when it assumed ownership of the hospital on Sept. 1 from Saint Louis University. The Jesuit school sold the hospital to for-profit Tenet Healthcare in 1998. It reacquired it in 2015 and contributed the facility to SSM Health, in exchange for a minority membership interest in SSM Health St. Louis, according to SSM Health. SSM Health is paying for the new hospital construction, Becker said.

Becker said an academic affiliation agreement between SSM Health and Saint Louis University advances the university's mission to educate medical professionals and SSM's mission to reveal the healing presence of God through exceptional health care services.


Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.