May 9, 2024 - News

New $1.6B hospital breaks ground on first Level I hospital outside TMC

Photo of a rendering of a tall building.

The hospital is slated to open in 2028. Rendering: Courtesy of Harris Health System and HKS Architects Inc.

Harris Health System broke ground Thursday on a new, $1.6 billion, Level 1 trauma-capable hospital at the Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital campus after voters approved the bond last fall.

Why it matters: The new hospital, expected to open in late 2028, is slated to be Houston's first Level 1 trauma center outside the Texas Medical Center.

  • The new, unnamed hospital in northeast Harris County aims to provide quality and urgent health care to the underserved and under-resourced communities of northeast Harris County, including Kashmere Gardens, Fifth Ward, Trinity Gardens and Eastex-Jensen.

Flashback: In November, 72% of Harris County voters approved a $2.5 billion bond issue to build the new hospital, renovate Ben Taub Hospital and make other Harris Health upgrades after the health system said it struggled to keep up with the demands of the growing population.

What they're saying: "I need people to understand how important it is and how grateful we are that Harris Health center saw the logic in including this hospital at this location. Location is everything," Huey German-Wilson, one of the founding directors of the Northeast Houston Redevelopment Council, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

  • "This is the only hospital in our entire area. There's an entire medical center 20 minutes from us, but if I'm injured at my home, I won't make it there."

Context: Harris Health System plans to get the Level 1 trauma center certification for the new hospital, which would provide comprehensive care for every level of injury, per the American Trauma Society.

  • The American College of Surgeons recommends at least one high-level trauma center for every 1 million people. Harris County, with about 4.8 million people, has two adult Level I trauma centers, both in the TMC.

By the numbers: The new, 12-story, 1.3 million-square-foot hospital with a rooftop helipad will have 390 private patient rooms with the potential to expand to 450.

  • There will be 15 dedicated operating rooms and a hybrid operating room.

What we're watching: The existing LBJ Hospital, built in 1989, is intended to be converted into a facility to support outpatient programming and mental and behavioral health needs in the community once the new hospital opens, per Harris Health.

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