2000s – Steering a New Course

Significant changes during this decade from a new president, a devastating flood that strengthens Methodist values and a new medical college affiliation.

2001: Ron Girotto Returns as President

Ronald G. “Ron” Girotto returns to The Methodist Hospital to restore financial reserves after the tumultuous managed care period. As CEO, his primary goal is to set the hospital up with the financial tools and strategic vision it needs for success in the 21st century. He brings together administrators, doctors, and staff across the system and repairs relationships damaged in the shift to managed care. He works with the Chairman of the Board, John Bookout, to negotiate a new affiliation agreement with Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. By 2004, he would publicly announce the hospitals new strategy to become an Academic Medical Center with a focus on Research, Education and Clinical Care. This strategy includes the building of the Research Institute, the Methodist Outpatient Center and what would be known as the Walter Tower. A new hospital in West Houston and significant expansions to the Sugarland and Willowbrook hospitals increase their community clinical activities. He served as CEO for 10 years until his retirement.

2001: The Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center

The center honors the career of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey and pulls together the various groups involved in heart and vascular care. The Center forms out of a grass roots effort led by heart doctors and administrators to give care to patients under one roof, called a Center of Excellence. By the year 2000, over 425 heart transplants had been completed at Methodist. In 2001, more than 1,300 open heart operations, 2,500 angioplasties and 6,000 catheterizations are performed. Dr. Albert E. Raizner is named the first medical director of the center, assisted by Debbie Sukin, who collects information to establish standard of care benchmarks.

2001: I CARE Values Are Embraced

Tropical Storm Allison begins on June 5 and causes extensive damage. Patients must be moved out of the hospital to secondary locations, where employees must be transported to care for them. The system bands together to ensure patient care holds high standards. The storm dumps up to 37 inches of rain on the Texas Medical Center, causing the worst flooding in the city’s history to date. It fills basements, blows out walls, destroys research labs and knocks out power. The damage amounts to $250 million in losses and would take five years to correct. As a result, Methodist puts in true flood doors, gates and submarine doors. Overcoming the damage proves to the Methodist Hospital community that they could get through anything, providing a catalyst for strengthening the employee bond and the desire to create the I CARE program.

2004: New Academic Medicine Focus

The Methodist Hospital Board approves the building of the Research Institute and a new outpatient center at the Texas Medical Center campus. Both buildings support and expand the hospital's new academic medicine focus.

2004: Inspiring the Next Generation

Following the end of a 54-year affiliation with Baylor College of Medicine, Methodist seeks a new academic medical school partnership and reaches out to Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr. at Weill Cornell, where he serves as dean and provost. Weill Cornell board chair Sanford I. Weill and Methodist board chair John Bookout produce an agreement focusing on collaboration in research, patient care and teaching. Both institutions also work together to create joint programs through the Research Institute.

2007: World’s First “American Correction” Mitral Valve Repair

Dr. Gerald Lawrie performs the world’s first “American Correction” mitral valve repair using the da Vinci surgical robot at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center.