San Antonio State Chest Hospital

By: Robert E. Neimes

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: May 31, 2017

The San Antonio State Chest Hospital was opened in 1953 as the San Antonio State Tuberculosis Hospital, operating under the Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools. The hospital was established as a replacement for the Weaver H. Baker Memorial Sanatorium, which was reclaimed in 1952 for air base purposes by the federal government. The new hospital was designed as a TB facility and also accommodated mentally ill and intellectually disabled patients with active tuberculosis. In 1964 it was the largest tuberculosis hospital in Texas. In 1965 it began operating under the Texas Department of Health. The hospital was authorized by the legislature to maintain 150 beds. Its director answers to the Commissioner of Health of the State of Texas. In the 1990s the governing body was the Board of Health. By 1967 the hospital had facilities for 1,000 patients. The surgical unit of the hospital was also utilized for patients from the San Antonio State Hospital. Patients of all ages were admitted from thirty-six counties. In 1971 the name of the hospital was changed to the San Antonio State Chest Hospital. The change reflected the expansion and reorganization from a TB hospital to a facility treating not only TB but also a wide range of respiratory diseases and disorders. Beginning in 1970 there was a gradual falling of the inpatient census and an increase in the outpatient department. Less serious respiratory cases were placed on an outpatient basis, and more serious cases, often with complicated secondary conditions, were hospitalized. A new administration building was opened, and a remodeling of older facilities resulted in more flexible and smoother operations. Inservice training programs were expanded, and libraries were added for the patients and for medical staff research. In 1971 physical and inhalation therapy departments experienced increased activity, and a new program of research into chronic obstructive lung disease was started. In 1991 the hospital converted a vacant patient ward to expand research facilities. The center is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health for the study of tuberculosis interaction and AIDS. The hospital employs 300 health care specialists and provides twenty-four-hour, cost effective, quality medical care to residents of the State of Texas. It further aids the community through ongoing educational programs and lecture series. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and funded by monies appropriated by the state legislature. Services are augmented by a strong volunteer service program, which administers the "Breath of Life Program," providing respiratory equipment to patients who cannot afford their own. A sister facility, the South Texas Hospital, is located in Harlingen, Texas.

University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, Guide to Texas State Agencies (Austin, 1956-), 1972, 1990.

  • Health and Medicine
  • State Hospitals

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert E. Neimes, “San Antonio State Chest Hospital,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 31, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: