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New Emergency Care Center Planned in Houston

HOUSTON -- Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands Hospital and Tomball Regional Medical Center will open a joint emergency care center this fall for residents.

The planned facility, a first for both hospitals, will provide emergency medical care to the communities of southwest Montgomery County and northwest Harris County.

A site has not been selected.

Expected to open in the fall, the center will be equipped with all the technology of an in-house emergency room, including ultrasound and radiographic capabilities and a laboratory.

The hospitals were each considering sites within 10 miles of each other when they decided to avoid competition by working together to serve the area.

Steve Sanders, chief executive officer of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, said the joint venture was a better way to fulfill the goals of the not-for-profit institutions.

"It's better because we're not duplicating services. We're doing this in collaboration," he said.

"This is the best way to use limited not-for-profit dollars, and it's the right thing for the community. The collaboration of two hospitals will create a stronger center, with the ability to recruit and retain quality staff and positions and quality care. It will be superior."

The more than $7 million project will alleviate overcrowded emergency rooms at both area hospitals, which are "literally overflowing with patients," Sanders said. As a licensed center, residents will be able to seek help closer to home without sacrificing quality.

When deciding to combine their resources, Lynn LeBouef, president and chief executive officer of Tomball Regional, said the center considered the rapidly expanding market, which is predicted to grow by 20 percent over the next five years.

The ongoing flu season is a perfect example of how the emergency center would help. Each hospital has been flooded with sick patients suffering from the virus, backing up the system. The new emergency care center would be another option for patients who need immediate medical attention, but can attend a local facility instead of adding further backlog to area hospitals.

Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands Hospital will run the day-to-day operations of the center, but patients will have a choice of where to receive follow-up depending on which hospital is more convenient.

"The patient always has a choice of where they will go," LeBouef said. "If they're closer to our facility, follow-up can be done here, if closer to Memorial Hermann it will be done there."

LeBouef said the two hospitals want to avoid duplicating services in the region.

"We're seeing a trend in health care right now where facilities are competing with each other," he said. "Rather than compete with each other, we want to see how we can work together to serve our community."

...

JOINT VENTURE

Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands Hospital and Tomball Regional Medical Center will together open a new emergency care center this fall.

The center will serve The Woodlands and Tomball communities of southwest Montgomery County and northwest Harris County.

Equipped with all the standard technology of a hospital emergency room, the center will have radiographic and ultrasound capabilities, a laboratory and a full staff.

The center, estimated to cost around $7 million, will be built in a strip mall development, but a groundbreaking is not expected until later this spring.

Source: Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands Hospital, Tomball Regional Medical Center

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