To the editor:
Describing the negotiations among Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas University Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital as a "hospital mess" (Journal-World, March 31) diverts attention from the real scandal. While alarms are sounded that "power brokers" in Kansas City, Mo., are pulling a fast one on the good burghers of Kansas, the inadequate status of KU medical school is glossed over.
KU is an unremarked medical school that compares unfavorably with schools in neighboring states.
The stark reality is revealed by the new U.S. News rankings for the top 50 medical schools for primary care and research: Colorado, 3 and 23; Nebraska, 10; Iowa, 18 and 30; Missouri-Columbia, 18; Oklahoma State, 30; and Arkansas, 45. KUMC does not rank in the top 50 in either category.
If the KU basketball team had such an abysmal record, heads would roll. Why not seek excellence in medical education and research as well as sports?
If Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean Barbara Atkinson and Chancellor Robert Hemenway can tap resources anywhere in Kansas and the metropolitan Kansas City area - including Kansas City, Mo. - to improve the educational and research programs at KUMC, they should be supported. Maybe KUMC can move from the bush league to a level of excellence from which Kansas taxpayers will benefit and for which they can be proud. Kansans' tax investments so far have purchased a medical pig in a poke.