SSM Health’s brand will get a shot in the arm when it takes over St. Louis University Hospital later this year. The 365-bed university facility brings into the SSM fold resources to treat complex diseases that SSM can’t handle in its current network of community hospitals.
That could help SSM, the St. Louis area’s second-largest hospital system, better compete with BJC HealthCare, the area’s No. 1 system. Many employers view BJC, which is affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine, as a must-have option in health plan networks, despite being more expensive.
SSM has plans to invest in SLU Hospital, which could be risky because academic medical centers are generally costly to run.
But, at the same time, the investment will help SSM reach new standards. SSM will gain transplant facilities, and it will add a Level 1 trauma center. Currently, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Mercy Hospital St. Louis are the only Level 1 trauma centers in the area.