Topeka Kansas University Medical Center, which has been under the legislative microscope all year for its proposed affiliation with a Missouri-based hospital system, may face further examination.
State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, and chairwoman of the House-Senate Legislative Post Audit Committee, said Wednesday that the committee probably will order a report into KUMC.
"This is definitely a topic of interest" among lawmakers of both political parties, Mast said.
She declined to comment on what kind of information the committee would seek from KUMC, saying that traditionally the committee's work is made public once a "scope statement" has been approved.
"The request has been made. The scope statements are in the process of being drafted," she said.
Scope statements generally tell state auditors what questions legislators would like answered. The committee will discuss and consider the issue at its next meeting April 24, which is one day before the start of the wrap-up legislative session.
David Adkins, vice chancellor of external affairs for KUMC, said the Legislative Division of Post Audit, which serves the committee and Legislature, "is a professionally run organization, and we would cooperate fully" with a request for information.
Adkins said he didn't know what Mast's concerns were, but said he hoped any legislator would approach KUMC if there were a question or concern.
He also said KUMC is "one of the most highly regulated entities in state government," overseen by the Kansas Board of Regents, accreditation groups, and "compliance monitoring of research efforts that spans local, state and federal jurisdictions."
Mast said some lawmakers are interested in information that has arisen from recent accounts about KUMC's proposed affiliation, but that is not directly linked to the affiliation. She declined to elaborate.
KUMC has proposed a teaching and research agreement with Kansas City, Mo.-based St. Luke's Hospital. KUMC says the arrangement is necessary to improve medical training and help KU win national designation as a cancer center.
But KUMC's teaching hospital, KU Hospital, has said the arrangement could hurt it because it competes directly with St. Luke's.
Also, some lawmakers have said they fear the partnership with St. Luke's could reduce the pool of doctors available in Kansas.
In the state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, lawmakers approved language that would require approval from the KU Hospital board before an affiliation between KUMC and St. Luke's could go forward.