HOUSTON -

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has approved a definitive agreement for the transfer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System to Catholic Health Initiatives, a nationally recognized health care system, officials said.

Officials said as part of the transfer of St. Luke’s, Catholic Health Initiatives will contribute more than $1 billion to create a new Episcopal Health Foundation, which will focus on the unmet health needs of the area’s under-served population.

In addition, CHI has committed an additional $1 billion for future investment in the health system.

“We are humbled to be able to preserve the legacy of St. Luke’s, while also expanding the Diocesan commitment to health care," said The Right Reverend C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

The name of the system will be the St. Luke’s Health System. The transaction is expected to be completed early this summer, subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals, officials said.

The Agreement includes the entire Health System: the Texas Medical Center campus, as well as suburban hospital locations in The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Pasadena and The Vintage. CHI has committed to maintain all current physician models and all employees will continue to be employed by St. Luke’s. In addition, CHI will continue to grow and enhance St. Luke’s significant affiliations with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Heart® Institute, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Officials with St. Luke's said the 11-month evaluation process undertaken by the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System Board included 30 prospective local and national partners with multiple strategic alternatives and, in March, this list was narrowed to three well-qualified finalists.

“We are enormously grateful to all participants for their earnest and forthright effort throughout this process,” said The Right Reverend Dena A. Harrison, Bishop Suffragan and Chair of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System Board.

“The relationship with Catholic Health Initiatives ensures the Greater Houston area will retain one of its great healthcare institutions, while best preparing St. Luke’s to meet future changes in healthcare,” said Kevin Lofton, CHI President and CEO.

While this decision means the Episcopal Diocese of Texas will no longer provide acute care, the

“This new Foundation will address a widening gap in healthcare throughout our 57-county area,” Bishop Doyle said. “There is a care vacuum that must be addressed, including access to health care, prevention, community and environmental health, poverty, education and health disparities.”