- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - SSM Health plans to spend $500 million to replace the aging Saint Louis University Hospital and build an outpatient care center within the next five years, the not-for-profit Catholic health system said Tuesday.

The announcement was made Tuesday as Saint Louis University Hospital officially joined St. Louis-based SSM Health, which operates 20 hospitals and more than 60 outpatient care sites, along with other services, in four states.

SSM said the hospital and care center will be built somewhere near the south St. Louis site of the existing hospital. A construction start date has not been set.

The hospital opened on South Grand Boulevard in 1933. SSM Health’s founding congregation, the Sisters of St. Mary, and SLU jointly operated the hospital until 1959, when the Sisters of St. Mary donated their share to the university.

SLU sold the hospital to Dallas-based Teneat Healtcare Corp. in 1998. In June, SLU said it would buy back the hospital from Tenet and contribute it to SSM Health in exchange for a minority financial interest and governance rights in SSM Health St. Louis.

That deal became effective Tuesday, as did a new name for the hospital: SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.

“While the current hospital has served the community well, we have the opportunity to construct state-of-the-art academic facilities that incorporate the best practices in patient-centered design,” William P. Thompson, president and CEO of SSM Health, said in a statement. “This significant investment will enable us to deliver an improved patient experience and even better care for our community.”

SLU President Fred P. Pestello said the university is excited about “what these projects will mean for health care in St. Louis and for medical and health education at Saint Louis University.”

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