Texas A&M, CHI St. Joseph Health Announce Strengthened Partnership

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CHI St. Joseph Health and Texas A&M University Health Science Center announced plans Monday, April 23 to strengthen their partnership to establish a co-branded primary care network aimed at improving access to health care for the Brazos Valley community while also training future clinicians. This makes CHI St. Joseph Health the primary clinical partner for Texas A&M in the Bryan-College Station market.

The CHI St. Joseph and Texas A&M Health Network will be a network of experienced board-certified primary care physicians and advanced providers dedicated to providing exceptional care at locations across the Brazos Valley. The network will include 16 primary care locations, including pediatrics, housing 47 providers within a nine-county service area, offering access to expert specialists and ancillary services. The partnership will elevate the quality and delivery of health care for the community by partnering clinicians and faculty at Texas A&M Health Science Center with physicians and clinicians at CHI St. Joseph Health.

“Co-branding our primary care clinics to also reflect the Texas A&M brand is a win for both organizations and more importantly, the Brazos Valley. We both have a long history of supporting this community. Having both of these brands on our primary care clinics signifies a joint promise we’re now making to the community to work together to impact the future of health care,” said Donovan French, vice president of strategy & business development at CHI St. Joseph Health.

Primary care clinics are wholly owned and operated by CHI St. Joseph Health and will be identified as clinics for teaching. Texas A&M medical students will be trained in locations throughout CHI St. Joseph Health’s system, offering the opportunity to learn medicine in both rural and urban community settings.

“Without our own teaching hospital, Texas A&M College of Medicine relies on collaborations with partners across the state who give medical students the best possible experiences,” said Carrie L. Byington, MD, dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine, senior vice president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health services at The Texas A&M University System. “Together, Texas A&M and CHI St. Joseph will prepare physicians who can embrace the complexities of the changing health care environment, can navigate large systems and provide collaborative care.”

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Joint physician workforce planning between the two organizations and becoming more clinically integrated will also further enhance the quality of care and ease of access for patients across the region, ultimately lowering costs.

“The joint workforce of physicians and expanded clinical integration that will occur as a result of our partnership will further enhance the quality of care and ease of access for patients throughout the Bryan-College Station community,” said Kia Parsi, MD, interim chief executive officer and chief medical officer at CHI St. Joseph Health. “We are extending students and providers beyond the hospitals and clinics, moving them out into other care settings. We want to create an environment that mirrors the uniqueness of Aggieland in the clinics operated by CHI St. Joseph Health. Together, we will help lower costs and improve the overall quality of care provided to our patients.”

Through a shared focus on education in rural medicine, the partnership will ultimately increase the number of rural physicians practicing across the state.

“The partnership between Texas A&M University Health Science Center and CHI St. Joseph Health is outstanding as the two entities share many of the same values,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “Both are committed to excellence, integrity and compassion in health care and health education. Having our medical students training at CHI St. Joseph clinics will be invaluable to their education. And the focus on rural medicine wholly aligns with the university’s land-grant mission of helping underserved populations. I have high hopes this strengthened partnership will benefit both CHI St. Joseph and Texas A&M, and further improve patient care.”

An added benefit of the collaboration, Texas A&M University System employees in Bryan-College Station and surrounding communities will have a significant reduction in health insurance costs through new, lower-cost voluntary options in their network benefit plan. The plan features a 75 percent reduction in primary care co-pays, a 50 percent reduction in specialty care co-pays and a 50 percent reduction in co-insurance costs at all locations in the CHI St. Joseph Health market.

“I am happy to offer employees and retirees of the Texas A&M System access to a new and affordable option for health care,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “With this partnership, our people can save more of their hard-earned dollars while gaining access to quality medical providers.”

CHI St. Joseph Health and Texas A&M College of Medicine have worked together for over 20 years, forming an initial relationship in 1997. The two organizations share similar missions, visions and values around improving patients’ health and quality of life through research, education and innovation in health care. With this enhanced relationship with Texas A&M Health Science Center, CHI St. Joseph Health will continue to operate as a Catholic healthcare system, focused on the healing ministry of the church.

“We are proud to partner with Texas A&M to serve the health care needs of those in the Brazos Valley,” said T. Douglas Lawson, PhD, CEO of the CHI Texas Division. “This partnership supports Catholic Health Initiative’s mission to create healthier communities. The reach of CHI in Texas has expanded through this strengthened affiliation, offering access to patients throughout south, central and east Texas.”

This story by Dominic Hernandez originally appeared in Vital Record.

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