DALLAS-United Surgical Partners International Inc. has launched its 21st alliance with a healthcare system, gaining ground in the Midwest and East. As the ink’s drying on the contract with Ascension Health of St. Louis, the developer was breaking ground for its 19th project with Dallas-based JV partner, Baylor Health Care System.

John Wellik, CFO for the locally based United Surgical Partners, tells GlobeSt.com that the Ascension contract is “an extension of a relationship started with St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville” that began three years ago and now opens the door for inroads in the Midwest and eastern US. Ascension Health is the nation’s largest Catholic healthcare system and the nation’s largest nonprofit health network with assets exceeding $11 billion. Wellik says United Surgical is gaining about 50 new markets with the Ascension alliance, which consists of 67 acute-care hospitals and dozes of related facilities in 20 states in the Midwest, East and District of Columbia.

According to Wellik, the JV partners have yet to decide on the number of ambulatory surgical facilities that they will build. The 50-50% alliance is United Surgical’s 21st with a JV partner.

In sync with Ascension signing, United Surgical broke ground with JV partner, Baylor Health Care System, on a 45,000-sf medical office plaza at 7150 N. George Bush Tollway in Garland. The facility, set to deliver in March 2005, will contain an imaging center, ambulatory surgery center and specialty physician offices. Trammell Crow Co.’s healthcare group, led by principal Robert McFarlane, oversees Baylor’s development of healthcare projects in North Texas.

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