Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2004

LMH seeks new partner for program

Lawrence hospital CEO says deal with St. Luke’s affiliate unlikely

June 17, 2004

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Lawrence Memorial Hospital officials are looking for a new partner to create a heart program.

LMH board members said Wednesday they were no longer optimistic about reaching a deal with an affiliate of Kansas City, Mo.-based St. Luke's Hospital that would allow LMH to perform angioplasty procedures. Currently, there are no facilities in Lawrence that perform the common angioplasty procedure. The procedure opens up blocked coronary arteries and restores blood flow to the heart.

LMH leaders had been working since February on an agreement with St. Luke's and its affiliate, Cardiovascular Consultants, to begin providing the procedures. The agreement would have provided the doctors, support staff and equipment for the hospital to begin offering the services.

But Gene Meyer, president and chief executive of LMH, that the two sides couldn't agree on how the contract should be structured. He expressed his concerns Wednesday during the board's monthly meeting.

"As is often the case, the devil is in the details, and we unfortunately have not advanced to a point where the board is comfortable with the contract," Meyer said.

Board members directed Meyer to begin discussing a possible partnership with other interested medical centers. Meyer said the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., and the Olathe Medical Center had expressed interest in creating a program with LMH.

Vickie Randel, chairwoman of the hospital's board of directors, said she remained confident the hospital would be able to reach a deal to provide the services.

"My hopes are still extremely high," Randel said. "I really have no doubt that we're going to be able to provide it."

Randel said she was optimistic that the services could be offered by the end of the year. Hospital officials have estimated that about 200 area residents a year travel to the Kansas City or Topeka areas to have angioplasty procedure performed.

"It is important for us to get this done because this is definitely a way we can better serve our community's health needs," Meyer said.

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