From humble beginnings to Fort Bend’s premier health care provider . . . Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Celebrates 20 years of Growth and Services

The Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital in 2004.


When Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital opened in March 1998, no one could have predicted how the next 20 years would turn out. The emerging institution – known then as Methodist Health Center-Sugar Land – opened with just 22 beds and 160 employees.

“The strategy at the time was to offer a few services locally and provide a gateway to Methodist in the medical center,” said CEO Chris Siebenaler. “But it became clear early on that the community had higher expectations. People in Fort Bend wanted a full-service hospital close to home, one that could provide the same level of care as hospitals in the medical center.”

Just a couple of years after its opening, the hospital opened more ICU and NICU beds, as well as the Cancer Center, leading to its first major expansion in 2008. Since then, Houston Methodist Sugar Land has continued to expand both its physical footprint and the range and breadth of its offerings.

A Time for Growth

Today, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary, Houston Methodist Sugar Land has a powerful community presence, providing a wealth of services across a wide range of specialties and offering a consistently higher level of care than other local facilities. The hospital has achieved multiple Fort Bend County medical firsts, and its centers of excellence – cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurosciences and women’s services – are well-established leaders, performing the most complex, sophisticated procedures and treating patients from across Fort Bend and surrounding counties.

The hospital’s campus now includes 347 medical, surgical and intensive care beds and 27 operating rooms in three patient towers; a stand-alone orthopedics and sports medicine facility and Cancer Center; comprehensive Heart & Vascular Center, Neuroscience & Spine Center and Breast Care Center; an expanding Childbirth Center; three medical office buildings; and primary care physician offices located throughout the community.

The hospital is now the second-largest private employer in Fort Bend with more than 2,200 employees – many of them county residents. In addition, the hospital has over 1,000 physicians, representing more than 40 specialties and subspecialties.

The growth of the hospital mirrors the rapid population growth in Fort Bend. In 1998, the county was home to around 332,000 people. Twenty years later, that population has doubled.

Those factors have caused the hospital’s patient base to expand beyond anyone’s expectation. In its first year, for example, the hospital treated fewer than 7,000 patients. In 2017, more than 225,000 patients turned to Houston Methodist Sugar Land for care.

“Our growth has been driven by the needs of our community,” said Siebenaler. “As the population has grown and changed, and our service area has expanded, we’ve continued to invest in facilities, technology and people to ensure that we are providing the types of services and level of care that are needed. That will never change.”

As further proof of its commitment to patient care, in 2017 Houston Methodist Sugar Land received official designation as a Magnet® hospital from the American Nurses Credentialing Center – the highest and most respected national recognition for nursing excellence. Only seven percent of U.S. hospitals can claim that honor, and Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only Magnet hospital in Fort Bend.

At the Heart of Care

Underpinning the county’s most advanced technology and infrastructure is a unique culture of caring that truly makes Houston Methodist Sugar Land special.

“What sets us apart from other hospitals are our I CARE values – integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence,” said Siebenaler. “Those I CARE values define our behaviors and how we care for people every day – our patients, families and even each other.  I often hear patients and their loved ones talk about how they were treated – our friendly, caring environment,  a smile someone shared, the touch of a nurse’s hand, employees and physicians praying with a patient. All these elements ultimately come together in support of our vision: Exemplary care through our loving hands and hearts, committed to cultivating a safe, spiritual and healing environment for every patient.”

Centers of Excellence Drive Advancements

The hospital’s focus on meeting the needs of the community is exemplified by its five centers of excellence, which provide the most critical medical services required in Fort Bend:

Leading Medicine In Fort Bend County

Since opening its doors in 1998, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital has been a pioneer in the advancements of medicine. Houston Methodist Sugar Land has received numerous recognitions and awards for excellence in patient care, technological innovations, medical advancements and community involvement, including:

  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Gold – Level Beacon Award for Excellence
  • America’s Best Employers by Forbes Magazine
  • American College of Surgeons – Commission on Cancer Accreditation with Commendation
  • American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite
  • American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline® Silver Plus STEMI Award
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®
  • Chest Pain Center Accreditation by the American College of Cardiology
  • Earned an “A” for patient safety from a Hospital Safety Score ratings program for eight consecutive times
  • Fort Bend Star Reader’s Choice Award for the Best Hospital
  • Midas+ Platinum Quality Award
  • Primary Stroke Center Certification by DNV GL Healthcare Inc.
  • Truven Health Analytics™ 100 Top Hospitals

Heart & Vascular

B. Keith Ellis, MD.

The Houston Methodist Heart & Vascular Center at Sugar Land is a nationally accredited chest pain center and the only hospital in Greater Fort Bend to provide 24/7 interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery services.

Houston Methodist Sugar Land performed the first open heart surgery in Fort Bend County in 2007 and has continued to remain the premiere institution for cardiac and thoracic services. The Heart & Vascular Center continues to lead the way with new innovations and technologies that improve patient outcomes.

“The layout of our Heart & Vascular Center is unique, with the cath lab adjacent to the Emergency Department and cardio-thoracic operating rooms just one floor above the cath lab,” said B. Keith Ellis, MD, a board-certified interventional cardiologist. “Having everything we need so close together enables us to save time, and those extra minutes can make the difference between life or death.”


Rony Ninan, MD.

The Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land provides a multidisciplinary team approach to the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, including back and neck pain, stroke, headaches and migraines, neuromuscular disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, sleep disorders, brain and spinal tumors, epilepsy and seizures and more. Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only hospital in Fort Bend that routinely performs complex brain and spinal surgeries.

“Our team approach ensures that patients receive the most comprehensive care,” said board-certified neurologist Rony Ninan, MD. “Being able to call upon our colleagues in specific subspecialties as needed – as well as having access to state-of-the-art facilities and highly trained operating room staff – enables us to tackle complex cases that previously could not be performed in Fort Bend.”


Sindhu Nair, MD.

The Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land is the only facility in Fort Bend that offers comprehensive oncology services on-site in one location – from diagnosis to surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, clinical trials, physical and occupational therapy and ongoing care and support.

“Our oncology team routinely collaborates to ensure each patient receives the best possible care,” said board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist Sindhu Nair, MD. “This partnership draws on each team member’s expertise to fight cancer in a compassionate, caring and supportive environment.”

The Cancer Center treats almost all of the forms of cancer and is Fort Bend County’s only hospital with American College of Surgeons – Commission on Cancer accreditation.

  Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Timothy Sitter, MD.

Athletes and non-athletes alike receive comprehensive care at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Sugar Land, where experienced, board-certified physicians provide complete diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic injuries and conditions – all in one location. Houston Methodist Sugar Land’s on-site state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility offers a combination of strength training, performance enhancement techniques and physical, occupational and aquatic therapy.

“Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only U.S. hospital offering full-time residency programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, hand therapy and athletic training,” said board-certified orthopedic surgeon Timothy Sitter, MD. “We are literally training the future therapists for the country.”

Women’s Services

Houston Methodist Sugar Land provides specialized care for women at every stage in life. From wellness exams and labor and delivery to ongoing breast and pelvic care and complex gynecological conditions, Houston Methodist Sugar Land’s physicians and staff offer caring,

Sandra Templeton, MD.

compassionate diagnosis, treatment and support.

The hospital’s Childbirth Center has a wide array of pregnancy and childbirth services and will soon open the county’s first Level III NICU for newborns with ongoing medical needs.

The Houston Methodist Breast Care Center at Sugar Land provides the full continuum of care — from screening through treatment and survivorship — all in one place.

“The Breast Care Center offers the most sophisticated diagnostic technology available today, read by radiologists who specialize in breast imaging,” said breast surgeon Sandra Templeton, MD. “We also have a team of board-certified surgical, radiation and medical oncology specialists who collaborate on further treatment if cancer is diagnosed.”

By focusing on delivering the most sophisticated and complex care through its centers of excellence – along with a wide range of other services and medical specialties – Houston Methodist Sugar Land has delivered on its promise to bring medical center-quality care close to home. Today, it is the only hospital in Fort Bend with the size, scope and achievements of large medical center institution, all in a convenient, comfortable setting close to home – no long drives to the medical center in traffic, no getting lost, no expensive parking. Just as important, patients benefit from a true sense of belonging and connection.

“The hospital is more than just this collection of buildings at the corner of Highway 59 and Sweetwater,” said Siebenaler. “We are integrated into the community in many ways, from the fact that many of our staff live here to the numerous outreach programs and resources we make available. We are proud to call Sugar Land home.”

The Next 20 Years

Siebenaler said that the hospital’s milestone anniversary is both an opportunity to celebrate and a springboard for new ideas. For example, one focus is identifying unique ways to increase the amount of care delivered outside of the traditional hospital setting.

“Medicine is always evolving, and we’re going to evolve with it,” Siebenaler said. “We’ll continue to get better at what we do and improve our ability to provide the most up-to-date care and technology possible. It’s exciting to think about what the next 20 years may bring.”

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