MARCH 1, 2014
Texas Health Care has renewed its contract with John Peter Smith (JPS) Hospital and the Tarrant County Hospital District to continue providing surgical services in the public hospital. The unique public-private partnership, first launched in 2005, has been renewed for three years.
Twenty-three Texas Health Care surgeons work at JPS, providing surgical services in numerous fields, including general surgery, trauma, vascular, cardiovascular, breast, ENT/head and neck, colon/rectal, and plastic surgeries.
The public-private partnership between JPS and Texas Health Care affords patients some of the best surgical care in North Texas, delivered in a public hospital setting. At the same time, taxpayers benefit from the unique value that Texas Health Care surgeons deliver to the hospital.
Since Texas Health Care began its partnership with JPS, the hospital has achieved a major milestone for the first time. Under the leadership of Texas Health Care physician Raj R. Gandhi, MD, Ph.D., JPS’ trauma department was designated as a Level I Trauma Center in 2010 by the American College of Surgeons. For a hospital to receive this designation, the trauma department must meet more than 200 different criteria and standards, including reduced response times, immediate access to critical specialists, aggressive patient safety plans and research programs to improve patient care.
JPS was re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center in 2012 and continues to provide life-saving care to people in Tarrant County and beyond. JPS is one of only three Level I Trauma Centers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and the only one in Tarrant County. It is one of three in the State of Texas located west of Interstate 35.
While there is no question that the JPS/Texas Health Care partnership has been of immense benefit for the hospital’s patients, it has also been a tremendous asset for the Tarrant County taxpayers who fund the hospital district. Public-private partnerships, when successful, result in the public entity receiving services at a higher quality and/or lower cost than what it could obtain if it hired or contracted those services directly – and that’s been exactly what has happened in the case of JPS and Texas Health Care. Patients receive a higher level of care and taxpayers receive more value for their dollar because of this partnership.
The high level of care provided for at JPS benefits the community at large – since the hospital became a Level I Trauma Center, it has seen a steady increase in patients with private-pay insurance, resulting in a financial benefit to county taxpayers. It has also seen an uptick in patients from outside Tarrant County who are willing to travel a greater distance to receive the quality care JPS provides.
In addition to its role as the public hospital for the third-largest county in Texas, JPS is also a teaching hospital, and Texas Health Care physicians play a vital role in training residents. Chief of Surgery David McReynolds, MD, has trained about 200 residents in his time at JPS. He considers it one of the most important aspects of his job and one that he enjoys immensely.
Dr. McReynolds, in a 2012 interview, remarked that one of the things he was proudest of is the low turnover rate in the department. “Nobody ever leaves,” he said, crediting a cohesive team of surgeons who work together and do not allow internal rivalries to take hold. “They’ve all got that same commitment, that’s the glue that bonds us together.”
Dr. McReynolds’ goal “was to have the best surgeons in town giving care to the people who least could afford it, that’s not something that usually happens.”
It’s definitely not something that usually happens, but fortunately for the patients of JPS and the taxpayers of Tarrant County, it has happened here – and with the new contract renewal, it will continue to be the case in the years to come.