med center scoop

We don't need no stinkin' merger: Baylor opts to stay independent

We don't need no stinkin' merger: Baylor opts to stay independent

News_Baylor College of Medicine_Jan 10
Baylor College of Medicine Photo by wools, Flickr

Two weeks after Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University called off their year-long merger negotiations, BCM's board of trustees issued an announcement that the medical school would remain an independent institution.

This announcement, sent via e-mail to the med school community, puts to rest the possibility of a rapprochement between BCM and Baylor University, which have had only a tangential association since they split in 1969. The possibility of a merger with Baylor University proved controversial to many at BCM, with several hundred students and alumni signing a petition declaring the Baptist university's "religious ideologies" would be a "restrictive influence" on BCM's biomedical research.

"These months of discussions with others and thousands of hours spent looking at our organization have left us with one obvious path to take. We are particularly grateful for the advice and counsel from our faculty, students, staff and alumni. Baylor College of Medicine must take charge of its own destiny," write Baylor College of Medicine interim president William T. Butler. "Our board of trustees has unanimously endorsed a three-point plan: establish a long-range comprehensive strategy; reach an agreement with the college's creditors, which will include the appointment of a chief implementation officer to oversee adherence to the comprehensive plan; and begin the search process for a new president."

Butler cited the recession as a key factor in Baylor's recent financial woes, and said the economic recovery has put BCM on stronger financial footing that will allow it to continue as one of only a handful of independent medical schools in the country.

"Over recent months, we have had a significant improvement in our financial performance. We have a positive cash flow and our cash and investments now exceed $1 billion. Both clinical services and research revenue are up and the margins in both of those activities have increased. We will face some tough challenges, but I'm confident we will be successful.

[via Houston Chronicle]