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UT unveils plans for two hospitals on Austin campus, including MD Anderson Cancer Center

A person in a wheelchair gestures while speaking into a microphone at a podium
Michael Minasi
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference announcing plans for two new hospitals on the UT Austin campus, including MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The University of Texas will partner with MD Anderson Cancer Center to bring a new medical center to the Dell Medical School campus in Austin, UT system officials announced Monday. University of Texas at Austin Medical Center will include a hospital staffed and operated by MD Anderson, along with a second medical tower that will serve as a specialty university hospital.

Gov. Greg Abbott joined UT officials to unveil plans for the new hospitals, which will include Central Texas’ first comprehensive cancer center in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Rather than having [Central] Texans travel to Houston, we will now be bringing the world's best cancer care to them, right here in Central Texas,” Abbott said.

Peter Pisters, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, said 5,000 Austin residents traveled to Houston last year to receive cancer care from MD Anderson.

MD Anderson was ranked the top cancer center in the country by U.S. News and World Report. It is affiliated with the UT Health Science Center at Houston and has several locations in the Houston area.

Pisters said Austin’s MD Anderson hospital will include 156 beds and more than 230 outpatient exam rooms, as well as procedure rooms, diagnostic imaging capabilities, and radiation and chemotherapy services. It will also be designed to open in two phases, eventually bringing subspecialty clinics such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer clinics and specialized services such as bone marrow transplantation.

“As of today, and forever into the future, MD Anderson will be a Texas-based institution, one institution and now two cities,” Pisters said.

Services to be offered at the second, still-to-be-named university hospital have yet to be finalized, according to Dell Medical School Dean Claudia Lucchinetti. However, she said she expects a 250-bed facility that will offer complex specialty care that many patients currently travel outside Austin to receive, such as patients with severe cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neural conditions.

"As we look at our future specialty hospital, we'll be really focusing on those areas, but considering others," Lucchinetti said.

She also said Dell Medical School students will have opportunities at the new hospitals, as will UT students in training to become social workers, pharmacists and nurses.

The two new hospitals will be located at the former site of the Frank Erwin Center. In May, UT Austin President Jay Hartzell announced plans to tear down the arena, an effort he said would begin this summer and conclude by September 2024.

UT officials estimated construction would begin in 2026, with a 2029 or 2030 opening date for the hospitals. As work on the facilities progresses, Hartzell said, UT and MD Anderson will consider how the new hospitals can work with the Ascension-operated Dell Seton Medical Center, which is also on the Dell Medical School campus.

Hartzell also said the estimated $2.5 billion investment will advance Austin's standing as a hub for medical and life science innovation.

"We have an opportunity that is unique in Texas and only possible in a few places in the world to build an academic medical center that is linked to a top research university and driven by innovations in technology, digital health, data science, artificial intelligence, robotics, material science and more," he said.

Olivia Aldridge is KUT's health care reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @ojaldridge.
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