Michael H. Covert
The health care industry is in the midst of tremendous change. We are moving to a new model of care—one that reaches beyond delivering services to improving the lives we serve. This standard is embedded within the fabric of Catholic Health Initiatives and CHI St. Luke’s Health.
CHI St. Luke’s Health’s strategic vision is aligned with Catholic Health Initiatives by being grounded in our core areas—people, quality, stewardship and growth—that are vital to our vision. For us to transform our delivery of health care in an ever-changing industry, we require new skills and expertise from courageous leaders who desire to move from the status quo to employees who embrace new behaviors and approaches to such a demanding environment.
To be recognized as a national leader, we must demonstrate consistent, distinctive quality through excellent clinical outcomes, patient experiences, access and affordability. Being an exceptional steward requires us to focus our resources to excel in improving the health and wellness of our communities by eliminating waste, duplication and unnecessary costs—prioritizing our resources to ensure we are investing in things that truly matter.
And finally, our core operations must be nurtured to grow and strengthen our system by developing new ways to reach more communities through continuum of care expansion, ambulatory access growth, physician enterprise and acute care development, as well as implementing strategies to migrate to population health management.
We’re excited about the development of the new Baylor St. Luke’s McNair Campus. Design and construction preparation of the second tower is now underway with anticipated completion of the entire replacement hospital by 2019. While much attention is focused on facilities in the Texas Medical Center, growth in the rest of Texas is not being ignored.
With the additions of the new ExxonMobil and Southwestern Energy headquarters in North Houston, we’re preparing to open our newest facility in Springwoods Village in January 2016 in this ever-growing community.
Expanding our reach to more communities in Texas is evident with two new health systems joining our organization. CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial is comprised of three hospitals (Lufkin, Livingston, San Augustine) and Memorial Specialty Hospital for long-term acute care; and St. Joseph Health System featuring five hospitals and several St. Joseph Medical Group locations across Brazos Valley.
Expertise Where It’s Needed Most
Ensuring that our patients and their families receive exceptional care no matter where they live is why we have innovative programs, such as Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), made possible in part by the philanthropy of our donors.
Baylor St. Luke’s specialists consult with primary care providers to treat complex patient cases in underserved and rural Texas communities. The virtual conferences operate like grand rounds that major academic medical centers use to educate physicians on the latest medical research and treatments. Project ECHO offers clinics in hepatitis B and C, cardiology, infectious disease and advanced liver disease.
Thanks to this program, rural Texans are able to receive care they need while staying close to home―more than 967 miles in health care-related travel has been saved for patients we’ve served. Baylor St. Luke’s continues to expand Project ECHO’s reach and is working with 70 providers in 39 Texas counties as well as Louisiana.
Going Beyond the Hospital Walls
As part of our Healthy Communities program, CHI St. Luke’s Health is committed to addressing the health needs of the underserved and developing relationships throughout the region. This will allow us to increase access and affordability to mainstream health care systems for those who have historically been unable to access them. San Jose Clinic, a comprehensive charity care clinic in Houston, is a natural partner in this work, and CHI St. Luke’s is working closely with the clinic to discover ways to support their efforts to reach those in need of care. Components of this new partnership include support for an electronic medical records system, funding for a full-time advanced nurse and implementation of One2One Diabetes Care, an education initiative already in place at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Firsts in Lung & Heart Care
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center have developed the first comprehensive, multi-specialty Lung Institute in Texas, with a team of specialists led by world-renowned lung disease expert and surgeon David Sugarbaker, M.D. Since its inception in 2014, the Institute has treated more than 1,100 cases.
The Institute combines experts, representing more than a dozen pulmonary, surgery and related specialties, who are tapping into the resources of internationally recognized genetics and genome sequencing programs. This collaborative approach to lung disease treatment means that patients are provided more options.
New treatments are available for asthma, including surgical procedures that work on the nervous system of the lung itself. Mesothelioma is treated at the Lung Institute’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center, which attracts patients from around the world.
It comes as no surprise that the internationally renowned Texas Heart Institute (THI) at Baylor St. Luke’s continues to be a leader in cardiovascular care and heart surgery. This year, THI implanted the world’s smallest pacemaker and was selected among an elite group of institutions to participate in this pivotal global clinical trial, which could potentially benefit more than one million people around the world who receive pacemakers.
Tradition & Mission
Our Houston roots are deep, and the beginnings of Catholic Health Initiatives reach back even further. A group of religious women who saw the need for health care on the Western Frontier made it their mission to provide care where it was needed the most.
Today, our mission hasn’t changed. We take care of people and are privileged to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us as we usher in a new era of health care to the communities we serve.