Discharged

Major Texas hospital merger between Memorial Hermann and Baylor Scott & White called off

The merger that would have created the largest hospital system in Texas has been called off. Photo via memorialhermann.org

Two Texas hospitals that were headed for union have called off their engagement plans, according to a joint statement. Dallas-based Baylor Scott and White and Houston-based Memorial Hermann announced in October that they were on track to combine forces following a letter of intent to merge and create a combined system.

The merger would have created a system with over 68 hospital campuses, 1,100 care delivery sites, almost 14,000 physicians, and serve almost 10 million patients each year, according to the October release. The more formalized agreement was expected this year.

"After months of thoughtful exploration, we have decided to discontinue talks of a merger between our two systems," the February 5 release states. "Ultimately, we have concluded that as strong, successful organizations, we are capable of achieving our visions for the future without merging at this time."

Jim Hinton, current CEO of Baylor Scott and White, was announced to be the system's CEO. Chuck Stokes, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann, was said to serve in the proposed office of the CEO, along with Baylor Scott and White president, Pete McCanna.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for each other and remain committed to strengthening our communities, advancing the health of Texans and transforming the delivery of care," the release continues. "We will continue to seek opportunities for collaboration as two forward-thinking, mission-driven organizations."

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Texas ranks worst in the nation for access to health care. Getty Images/fstop123

Health care is already one of the hottest topics in the country, and a new study comparing systems at the state level offers even more to talk about — especially in Texas, which is rated one of the worst in the country.

Personal finance website WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of access, outcomes, and costs to determine the best and worst states for health care. Texas ranks 43rd, the ninth-worst in the nation, for 2019.

The Lone Star State lands in the bottom half of the rankings for all of the aforementioned categories, coming in dead last, No. 51, for access to health care.

Texas has the lowest rates of insured children and adults in the nation, according to the study, as well as consistently low numbers of physicians, physician's assistants, and nurse practitioners per capita, all of which fall in the lowest quadrant of states studied. Alarmingly, Texas also has one of the worst EMS response times, 8.37 minutes, but it ranks surprisingly well for retaining medical residents, No. 5 overall.

Texas does slightly better, 38th, in outcomes, which considers such factors as infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and the share of patients readmitted to hospitals after being discharged. For all of those factors, the state receives middle-of-the-road rankings.

When it comes to costs, however, Texas has a couple of redeeming rankings. The Lone Star State is No. 28 overall, but it boasts the country's eighth-lowest cost of a medical visit ($97.99) and the 16th lowest average monthly insurance premium ($544). Offsetting those are its No. 32 ranking for share of out-of-pocket medical spending (11 percent) and No. 43 ranking for share of adults who haven't seen a doctor because of the cost (19 percent).

The best health care in the country, says WalletHub, is available in Minnesota. At the very bottom of the list is Alaska, the worst state for health care in 2019.

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This story originally appeared on CultureMap.com.