The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has approved an agreement for the transfer of St. Luke's Episcopal Health System to Catholic Health Initiatives, a Colorado-based health care system.

The new system will be named St. Luke's Health System, and the transaction is expected to be completed early this summer, subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals, according to a press release. The agreement covers the entire health system, including the Texas Medical Center campus and suburban hospital locations in The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Pasadena and at The Vintage in northwest Houston.

Catholic Health Initiatives has agreed to maintain current physician models and continue to employ all St. Luke's employees, the press release states. In addition, CHI will continue to enhance St. Luke's affiliations with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Heart Institute, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Texas Children's Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"The relationship with Catholic Health Initiatives ensures the greater Houston area will retain one of its great healthcare institutions, while best preparing St. Luke's to meet future changes in healthcare," CHI President and CEO Kevin Lofton said.

As part of the transfer of St. Luke's, CHI will contribute more than $1 billion to create a new Episcopal Health Foundation, which will focus on health needs of the area's underserved population. CHI has also committed an additional $1 billion for future investment in the health care system.

"We are humbled to be able to preserve the legacy of St. Luke's, while also expanding the Diocesan commitment to health care," said C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

While the decision means the Episcopal Diocese of Texas will no longer provide acute care, the diocese will continue its mission through the new Episcopal Health Foundation. Doyle said the foundation will address a widening healthcare gap in the 57 counties they serve.

"There is a care vacuum that must be addressed, including access to health care, prevention, community and environmental health, poverty, education and health disparities," he said. "This direction reflects the initial vision of bishops Quin and Hines in founding St. Luke's."

The St. Luke's Episcopal Health System Board considered 30 prospective local and national partners with multiple strategic alternatives during the 11-month evaluation process. The list was narrowed to three finalists in March, including CHI.

"We are enormously grateful to all participants for their earnest and forthright effort throughout this process," said Dena A. Harrison, Bishop Suffragan and Chair of the St. Luke's Episcopal Health System Board.

The nation's second largest faith-based health system, Catholic Health Initiatives operates in 17 states with 78 hospitals, 40 long-term care and assisted-living facilities, two community health-service organizations, two accredited nursing colleges, and home health agencies. CHI has about 83,000 employees, makes about $10.7 billion in total annual revenue and provided more than $715 million to charity and community care services in the fiscal year 2012.

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas and Catholic Health Initiatives will hold a press conference at 4:15 p.m. April 19 at the Houstonian Hotel, located at 111 N. Post Oak Lane in Houston. For more information, visit