The largest academic medical center in the region and a Nashville-based company have finished acquiring the assets of East Texas Medical Center.

UT Health Northeast and Ardent Health Services announced completion of the deal on Thursday, after it went through multiple phases of approval.

The new system is called UT Health East Texas, has a new board of directors with representatives from the two parent entities, and will be represented with an orange and gray logo.

The new UT Health East Texas system now has 10 hospitals, more than 50 physician practices, 13 rehabilitation facilities, two free-standing emergency rooms and home health services in 41 counties, among other assets.

The health system is now a for-profit entity, just like Ardent Health Serices, instead of a nonprofit organization, as East Texas Medical Center was. The system now will be responsible for paying a variety of taxes, including local property taxes.

Moody Chisholm, formerly with Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, has been named the CEO of UT Health East Texas. He reports to David Vandewater, the CEO of Ardent Health Services.

Chisholm replaces Elmer Ellis, who was president and CEO of East Texas Medical Center. Ellis retired on Wednesday after 50 years at the organization, including more than 20 as CEO.

Dr. Kirk Calhoun, the current president and CEO of UT Health Northeast, will now be the chairman of the 10-member board of directors for UT Health East Texas. Chisholm also will have a seat on the board.

Other board members include Barbara Bass, a former Tyler mayor; a handful of leaders currently with UT Health Northeast; and a handful of leaders currently with Ardent Health Services.

Chisholm said “a small percentage” of the 7,000 to 8,000 jobs at UT Health East Texas would be eliminated as part of the deal, and that the system would do its best to minimize the impact on people.

“Around the country, the expectation of health systems is that we learn to keep people out of the hospital,” Chisholm said. “That by default means we have to lower our cost structure, and we won’t have as many patients in the hospital if we’re doing a good job.

“The top health systems across the nation have had massive cuts in staffing,” Chisholm said. “We don’t anticipate that here, but there will be reductions in staff as we reorganize the way we structure the way we approach health care here.

“Every single job is impactful and makes a difference for the people that are impacted, so we will work very carefully to make sure that we respect each individual … and that we try and find opportunities for them within the system,” he said.

In Kansas, when Ardent Health Services took over a Kansas University health system, the network laid off 60 people in October. However, Vandewater said Ardent saw a net gain of 25 positions within that hospital system.

“We believe that we will continue to expand what we have within this organization and to the extent that there are displacements of people in this process, we believe in the long term we’ll have more employees here” in East Texas, Vandewater said.

He said as the new UT Health East Texas system matures, it will be able to retain more local patients who currently travel to Dallas to get care, creating more job opportunities.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

Watch the video of the event below. 

Government Reporter

Erin came to Tyler from Vermont, where she worked for VTDigger.org and previously the Rutland Herald. She received her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school.

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