St. Luke's And Texas Heart Institute Renew Vows For $220 Million

Texas Heart Institute - the Denton A. Cooley Building in the Texas Medical Center [Wikipedia image provided by Texas Heart Institute]
The Texas Heart Institute has resolved its disagreements with the new owners of St. Luke's Hospital, dropping a lawsuit that sought to unwind the historic partnership. The new agreement means more money for the Texas Heart Institute.

The legendary surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley founded the Texas Heart Institute in 1962, and it’s been affiliated with St. Luke’s since the very beginning.

But in recent years, St. Luke’s had been transferring less money to the institute, just $3 million a year. 

Dr. James Willerson is the institute’s president.

“We have existed on the basis of philanthropy and grants and not much in the way of financial support over and above that. That’s become very difficult to do.”

The Texas Heart Institute eventually went to court to clarify its contract with St. Luke’s, and also flirted with the idea of affiliating with a new hospital, like Methodist.

The uncertainty increased when a hospital chain called Catholic Health Initiatives announced in April that it would buy St. Luke’s.  

But today’s announcement means Texas Heart Institute stays with St. Luke’s.

In exchange, it will receive $220 million in funding over the next decade.

Willerson says Catholic Health Initiatives will also benefit.

“This is a system of now 84 hospitals, most of which do not have great cardiovascular capability. And so we anticipate that the Texas Heart Institute, at the St. Luke’s Hospital System here, will be a referral site for patients with difficult cardiovascular problems, helping people all over the country.”

The Texas Heart Institute has an annual budget of about $44 million dollars.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...