New hospitals bring better health care access, medical amenities

New hospitals bring better health care access, medical amenitiesThe Woodlands area will soon serve as home to two new hospitals that are expected to bring additional health care services and many new jobs to the community, according to hospital officials.

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital are in development in The Woodlands with planned completion dates in 2017.

Debbie Sukin, CEO for Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital, said the new hospital will provide  area residents with better access to medical care and the latest technology health care has to offer.

“Competition [among health care providers] raises the standard for quality, and it also provides patients with more options,” Sukin said. “Our goal will be to provide the highest quality of care in the most welcoming patient-centered environment so residents can receive comprehensive health care services close to home.”

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital will be located at the southeast corner of I-45 and Hwy. 242. The new hospital will feature innovative medical technology, such as an operating room integration system, which Sukin said will allow physicians to broadcast surgeries for teaching purposes or connect specialists from the Houston Methodist Research Institute or other facilities worldwide.

Sidney Sanders, senior vice president for facilities, construction and real estate for Houston Methodist, said the need for a new hospital in The Woodlands is a main result of the area’s population growth.

“The demand for services is climbing, and we just need to expand in this area,” Sanders said. “Houston Methodist has a patient centric quality and a focus that no one can quite match. Ten years ago you could only find these advanced medical facilities in a medical center. Now these services are becoming available in places like The Woodlands.”

The opening of the $360 million  Texas Children’s Hospital  is also a result of the ever-growing population in and around The Woodlands area, said Michelle Riley-Brown, president of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

Riley-Brown said the hospital’s opening would also mark the development of the first pediatric hospital in The Woodlands and surrounding areas that would providechildren in the area with more immediate medical opportunities.

“We’ll be bringing a pediatric intensive care unit and a design equipped for pediatric service,” Riley-Brown said. “By bringing Texas Children’s Hospital closer to this area, there will be better access [to area residents] than driving all the way to the Texas Medical Center that is 35 miles away from The Woodlands.”

Riley-Brown said the $360 million hospital would be located on I-45, south of Hwy. 242, next to CHI St. Luke’s  Health-The Woodlands.

“We’ve looked at the pediatric growth in the area, and we want to just get ahead,” Riley-Brown said. “We’re just excited to bring good care and quality to this growing community.”

New hospitals bring better health care access, medical amenitiesEconomic benefits

Besides giving residents of The Woodlands area better access to medical care, the hospitals are expected to bring in medical tourism, with visitors outside the Woodlands coming to the area for medical care.

Besides tourism, jobs and an increase in revenue to local economies in and around The Woodlands are other factors that are expected to occur once the hospitals are developed.

Paul Layne, executive vice president of master-planned communities for the Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns The Woodlands, said both hospitals will be beneficial for The Woodlands community and offer new opportunities for a variety of outlets through the chain effects of medical tourism and new jobs that will become available.

“We’re delighted about new hospitals in The Woodlands that provide additional health care options for the 110,000 residents in and around The Woodlands,” Layne said. “This will promote medical tourism, which will bring more people to the area, resulting in hotel rooms being rented, opportunities for home sales and also have a positive effect on commercial real estate business with the rising amount of visitors to the surrounding area.”

Job growth

The Sam Houston State University nursing program, located at both the Huntsville and The Woodlands campuses, will also benefit as a result of the two new hospitals being developed, said Anne Stiles, director of the nursing program at SHSU.

Stiles said the new hospitals would not only provide new educational tools and practicing grounds for nursing students but also new employment opportunities for SHSU grads, who are likely to feed into the new hospitals that will be looking for employees.

“This will absolutely have a positive impact on us,” Stiles said. “These new hospitals will provide more sites for students during the education as they go into hospitals for practice, and also give opportunities to graduates when they are looking for nursing jobs. It’s also a benefit to the hospitals because they are going to need access to graduates and a lot of nurses and we will definitely be able to provide that.”

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands is planning on employing about 500 people, with half of the employees transferring from within the Texas Children’s Hospital organization and half being hired from The Woodlands community and surrounding area, according to hospital officials. Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital is expecting approximately 650 new employees when the hospital opens in 2017.

Stiles said the SHSU nursing program usually partners with any hospital in the area as it is the only nursing program to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in The Woodlands area. Many of the nursing graduates will be applying to any new developing hospitals, such as Houston Methodist and Texas Children’s Hospital.

Besides offering educational and employment opportunities to nursing students, Stiles said the Woodlands area would benefit from the new facilities by offering medical opportunities to families and providing easier access to innovative medicine that will be closer to home.

“More medical access is going to be needed with The Woodlands area growing rapidly,” she said. “These new hospitals are going to fulfill a lot of needs for everyone.”


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