It took until almost midnight getting the paperwork signed, but on Thursday the Kansas University Hospital made its official transition from a state entity to one governed by its own authority.
The transfer was made possible by legislation signed by Gov. Bill Graves in the spring. Graves then appointed the members of the 14-member board.
Irene Cumming, president and CEO of KU Hospital, said the transition involved a staggering number of contracts and agreements.
More than 2,300 employees had to be transferred to the new hospital payroll system, but the hospital continues to contract with KU for maintenance, print shop and other needs.
For almost a century, the hospital has been closely tied to the medical center and the schools of medicine, nursing and allied health, as well as to state government for purposes of budgeting and accounting. As a result, said KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, it hasn't been able to function like a true business.
``And yet, as far as the state was concerned, the hospital was a business,'' said Hemenway, also chairman of the new board. ``The hospital had to depend on patient revenues to earn money to pay the doctors, nurses and the people who worked there.''
Now, the hospital can compete just like any other hospital.
In addition to the chancellor, the KUMC vice chancellor, the deans of the nursing and medical schools, the KU Hospital chief of staff and the hospital CEO serve as automatic members on the board. Physicians, legislators, Board of Regents members and others make up the rest of the authority.
-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.