A landmark agreement between The University of Texas at Austin and Seton Healthcare Family sets a legal foundation for a new medical school, a new teaching hospital, a health care district in downtown Austin and greater access to health services in Travis County.
The Affiliation Agreement outlines how UT faculty members, residents and students will work, train and learn in clinical and research programs at Seton facilities, including the Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, a new $295 million teaching hospital that Seton is building on UT-owned property across the street from the Dell Medical School.
The new hospital will replace the outdated University Medical Center-Brackenridge, which has been the principal provider of inpatient hospital services for vulnerable low-income and uninsured Travis County residents. The new hospital will house an enhanced replacement for the region’s only adult Level 1 trauma center.
“This landmark agreement paves the way for transformation of The University of Texas at Austin, our community and the future of medicine,” said UT Executive Vice President and Provost Gregory L. Fenves. “We have worked for decades to establish UT as a leader in medical education and research to benefit society. Our partnership with Seton will allow us to extend the university’s mission to include the highest quality patient care.”
The Affiliation Agreement ensures that UT Austin and Dell Medical School leaders will maintain complete control over how UT medical students and residents are taught and trained. Seton a member of the nation’s largest nonprofit health system, Ascension adheres to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care (ERDs), which limit certain activities within its facilities. The agreement specifies that ERD-prohibited activities will not be conducted at Seton facilities. UT students and residents will receive complete education and training at non-Seton facilities.
Seton, which owns and operates three other teaching hospitals, is building Seton Medical Center at UT entirely with money it either raises or generates, and no funding will be transferred under the Affiliation Agreement, which has an initial term of 25 years, with two automatic 10-year extensions.
“A higher standard of health care, expanded services and greater accessibility for Central Texans is on the horizon,” said Jesús Garza, Seton Healthcare Family president and chief executive officer. “Seton looks forward to building a modern teaching hospital worthy of the world-class Dell Medical School that we are working with UT to develop.”
The Dell Medical School will welcome its first class of students in July 2016. The school is currently under construction at the corner of 15th and Red River streets. The hospital will begin operations in 2017. Faculty members will be compensated by UT Austin for their teaching and research responsibilities, though they may also have arrangements with Seton so they can establish medical practices within or through the teaching hospital and provide care in the community.
“Our goal at the Dell Medical School is to change how medicine is taught and health care is delivered. This Affiliation Agreement helps us to do that,” said Clay Johnston, inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School. “It allows our students and residents to learn and Travis County residents to be treated in a state-of-the-art teaching hospital, and it gives our faculty the flexibility and freedom to develop innovative new models of care that will help make Austin a model healthy city.”
The agreement completes a set of contracts between UT Austin, Seton and Central Health, Travis County’s health care district. In setting the legal foundation for a new UT medical school and teaching hospital, the partnerships fulfill key pieces of the 10 Goals in 10 Years that state Sen. Kirk Watson initially proposed in 2011. Voters in Travis County embraced the 10-in-10 Goals in 2012 when they passed a proposition increasing property taxes to support the medical school and a number of other community health care efforts.
“The people of Austin and Travis County voted two years ago for something transformative. With these contracts completed, we can set about the work of really transforming how our neighbors, friends and loved ones live, work and stay healthy,” Watson said. “It’s always been a compelling vision. With this agreement, it’s a step closer to reality.”
For more on the Affiliation Agreement, go to www.utexas.edu/dell-medical-school/partners/ut-austin-seton-affiliation-agreement. You can read the full document at https://utexas.app.box.com/UT-Seton-Affiliation-Agreement.