by Adventist Today News Team
Huguley Memorial Medical Center south of Fort Worth, Texas, has over the past year become jointly owned by Texas Health Resources (THR) and Adventist Health System (AHS). On April 18 hospital executives, civic leaders and staff gathered for a ceremony unveiling its new name: Texas Health Huguley Fort Worth South.
“What began as a courtship and marriage has resulted in a happy honeymoon and the prospect for a happily ever after,” stated the Alvarado Star the next day. A year ago AHS formed a joint venture company with THR which “owns the controlling interest in the joint venture and AHS continues to manage the daily operations of the” institution.
Adventist Today asked AHS how this new organizational arrangement affects the status of Huguley as an Adventist hospital. AHS “continues to operate the hospital,” spokesperson Melanie Lawhorn told Adventist Today. “Ken Finch is still the CEO, the mission is unchanged, and AHS manages the daily operations. The president of the Southwestern Union Conference remains on the board.”
“The first year of the joint partnership has been productive,” the Alvarado Star quoted Rich Reiner, president of AHS. “Facilities enhancements have been made and more significant expansion is planned,” the newspaper reported. “By combining our resources and talents, we have already begun to more effectively meet the health care needs of those we serve,” it quoted Doug Hawthorne, THR chief executive officer.
Herbert Huguley, a dentist and real estate investor from Dallas, left his $6 million estate to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to build a hospital in memory of his parents. Huguley Memorial Medical Center opened in February 1977, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s a change for those who have been here through the 36 years,” admitted Finch about the new organization. “This is just the start of a lot of positive things that will be happening,” Reiner said.
THR is one the largest faith-based nonprofit health systems in the country with 25 hospitals in Texas, including Presbyterian and Methodist institutions. AHS is the largest Protestant health care provider in America with 44 campuses and 7,700 licensed beds. It cares for four million patients each year and employs 78,000 workers.
Asked about the benefits of this new organizational arrangement, Lawhorn told Adventist Today, “The hospital gets the best of both worlds … the national brand and resources of AHS [and] the local recognition and resources of the Texas Health brand. If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know that the Texas Health brand is very strong and recognizable up and down the Interstate 35 corridor.”
It is generally believed by experts that health care institutions cannot survive as stand-alone organizations in the current situation in the United States where political and economic pressures seek to reduce the overall cost while science and demographics increase the cost. The new organization at Huguley may be seen as a creative approach to preserve the Adventist affiliation of an institution while gaining the benefits of also being affiliated with a strong local network.