Health & Science

Memorial Hermann Plans Two New Buildings In Texas Medical Center

The expansion will increase the capacity of the flagship hospital campus by 50 percent, including 160 new beds, 24 new operating rooms, a café, and, of course, more parking.

New building rendering
A rendering of one of two new patient buildings to be built at Memorial Hermann’s campus in the Texas Medical Center.

The expansion will increase the capacity of the flagship hospital campus by 50 percent, including 160 new beds, 24 new operating rooms, a café, and, of course, more parking.

One new building will be for patients, the other for infrastructure. Both will go up east of the current buildings along Cambridge Street, across from the zoo. The expansion will cost $650 million, part of an ongoing master plan that includes and add 160 beds and two dozen new operating rooms.

“We’re doing it now because we can afford to do it now,” said John Ambler, Memorial Hermann’s chief communications officer.

Ambler acknowledged that reimbursement for healthcare is changing, particularly for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

“We have an uncertain future and we don’t know what the financial structure is going to be in health in the decades to come,” Ambler explained. “We know that we have the resources to fund this now, so we should fund this now. It’s part of our responsibility to the next generation.”  

Memorial Hermann is also expanding its hospitals in Katy and Sugarland, and building a new hospital in Pearland. The system includes twelve hospitals across the Houston region, including a children’s hospital and The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR).

Some analysts believe that Houston has too many hospital beds. The current trend in health care is to lower costs by keeping patients out of the hospital, and treating patients in less expensive community-based settings.

Ambler agreed that is one trend, but said Houston’s population is booming and the demand keeps growing for the specialty services offered at the system’s flagship hospital.

“There are place where we have surplus beds in Houston,” he explained, “But we are definitely not finding that at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center. We do not have the space to keep up with the demand.”

Vivian Ho, a healthcare economist at Rice University’s Baker Institute, says Memorial Hermann is taking a risk by expanding aggressively at a time when the healthcare future is so unclear.

But she says the hospital’s forecast could be correct. Memorial Hermann could get more insured patients under the Affordable Care Act, and as the baby boomers age.  

 

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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