The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Methodist Healthcare System are moving forward on what they describe as a 'complex' affiliation agreement, but it appears highly unlikely that the two groups still intend to build a new, free standing children's hospital, 1200 WOAI news reports.

  The two groups say they are seeking regulatory approval for an affiliation which will involve 'integrated pediatric care, training and research.'

  But a statement made no mention of construction of a children's hospital in the Medical Center, which was a discussion item when negotiations toward the affiliation agreement began in early September.

  Also, in Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff's State of the County address in October, Wolff didn't mention building a free standing children's hospital in the Medical Center as a priority, something he had mentioned in the previous two addresses.

  The two institutions say they are 'satisfied that agreements have been reached' on all major aspects of their partnership.

  The Health Science Center said two years ago that a goal of its partnership with Vanguard Health, the owner of the Baptist Health Care Network, and the world renowned Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, was to build a new children's hospital.

  But several things have changed since then.  First, Vanguard, which is under new ownership, and CHOP withdrew from the deal.

  Then, Methodist announced earlier this week that it is investing $20 million in upgrading its existing facilities.

  But the main development that has occurred is the growth and the success of the partnership between CHRISTUS Health, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital which has led to the opening of Children's Hospital of San Antonio in the former Santa Rosa Hospital downtown.  CHOSA announced this week that 13 additional pediatric specialists have joined the CHOSA team.

  Methodist and UTHSC say they will not comment further on their plans until the partnership has been finalized.