Jul 26, 2023 - Business

New San Antonio hospital for women and children

The new Women's and Children's Hospital has plenty of windows that let in natural light and offer Medical Center views.

The new University Health Women's and Children's Hospital has natural light throughout. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

University Health's new hospital for women and children will offer specialized, regional care in one location — the first in South Texas to do so.

Driving the news: The hospital at the University Health campus in the Medical Center will open to patients in August. There isn't a set opening day yet, a spokesperson says.

Why it matters: Children have specific health needs different than adults, Kelsey Sherburne, medical director for pediatrics at the new hospital, tells Axios.

  • "Pulling us out of being a small children's area within an adult hospital gives us the ability to expand, but also to treat children how they should be cared for," Sherburne says.

State of play: The new hospital's service area extends beyond San Antonio to the Rio Grande Valley.

  • It offers patients a centralized hub for specialized care, rather than a fractured system across the state, Irene Sandate, chief nursing officer at the Women's and Children's Hospital, tells Axios.
  • University Health can transport patients to the San Antonio hospital when they need to receive specialized care they might not get where they live.

What they're saying: "The basis for this type of expansion is anticipating the growth of San Antonio and growing families," Sandate tells Axios.

A visual water play wall at the new hospital.
A water wall at the new University Health Women's and Children's Hospital. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

By the numbers: The 12-story hospital has 300 beds and is more than 1 million square feet.

  • The hospital cost $573.7 million, and the 900-space parking garage cost $62.4 million to build. University Health funded the project with cash reserves and bond funds.
  • There was no increase to the hospital district's tax rate to construct the hospital.

Details of the new hospital include:

  • A 24-hour urgent care for OB/GYN emergencies
  • A 24-hour children's emergency room
  • A pediatric intensive care unit
  • A neonatal intensive care unit
  • Labor and delivery suites
  • Isolation rooms for women and children with infectious diseases, like COVID-19
  • Mother's Place, a center for nutrition and support for breastfeeding parents
  • Child life centers, or playrooms, with air hockey tables and other games
  • Family lounges.
A fooseball table in a play room at the new hospital.
A Child Life Center, or a playroom, at the new Women's and Children's Hospital features a foosball table. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

Zoom in: Visiting a hospital can fill many people with anxiety. Colors and other details throughout the hospital are meant to make children and families feel more comfortable.

  • More than 1,000 pieces of art adorn the hospital, including art influenced by the landscape of a Texas state park on each floor.
  • Colorful wallpaper faces children's beds.
  • A family lounge includes floor-to-ceiling windows that let in natural light and offer views of the Medical Center.

Zoom out: The women's and children's hospital is part of larger expansion plans by University Health.

  • The Bexar County-owned hospital district has plans for two new community hospitals — one on the South Side near Texas A&M University-San Antonio and another on the Northeast Side near Interstate 35 and Retama Parkway. They are planned to open in 2027 and 2026, respectively.
  • The South Side hospital will serve an area with a growing lack of health services after Texas Vista Medical Center closed this year.

The bottom line: University Health officials have said there's a need for more services in a city and county with explosive population growth.


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