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Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wichita voices KU concerns

April 12, 2007

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Editor's note: The following letter was written by members of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County and its Kansas University School of Medicine-Wichita Task Force to KU Hospital CEO Irene Cumming and the Kansas Hospital Authority to express their concerns about the pending affiliation agreement between the KU Medical Center, KU Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital.

Like many other interested Kansans, the Medical Society of Sedgwick County and its KUSM-W (Kansas University School of Medicine-Wichita) task force are concerned about the proposed affiliations of Kansas University Medical Center with St. Luke's Hospital, Children's Mercy Hospital and other private entities. The political endeavors in Topeka are progressing at a rapid pace, and we are concerned that the proper due diligence may not have taken place. Intense pressure appears to be applied by KUMC in conjunction with other Greater Kansas City entities to rapidly progress this important issue to its final conclusion. We believe that the action of the legislative conference committee to remove certain provisos has placed our state in a free fall toward undesirable consequences.

While it may appear certain to KUMC that the benefits of an increased focus on biological research is a valid and justifiable goal, the Medical Society of Sedgwick County and its task force have questions that remain unanswered. It is our belief that the long-term ramifications of the proposed affiliations have not been adequately evaluated to be certain that no harm will be done to health care training facilities already in place in our state.

Physicians across the state have been forthcoming in their position statements that have outlined their concerns about the future KUMC affiliations. Paramount among those concerns is the future viability of the KU Hospital and future growth of the KUSM-W program.

The rapid progression of these new affiliations without proper considerations of the deleterious effects on the KU Hospital and KUSM-W campus may greatly jeopardize our state's ability to train future physicians for Kansas.

We are offering our support to the Kansas Hospital Authority as they attempt to fully understand the complete ramifications of the new affiliations. We also register our dismay with the rapid time frame of this important decision and would ask your help to slow this process.

Finally, we would like to give our formal appreciation for the outstanding job you have done in transforming the KU Hospital into a world-class facility and your attempts to be a voice of reason in the cacophony that has surrounded these proposed affiliations with KUMC.

- Members of the KUSM-W task force are: Dr. Dennis L. Ross, Dr. Alex D. Ammar, Dr. Donald R. Brada, Dr. Jerry B. Cohlmia, Dr. Shaker R. Dakhil, Dr. Joe D. Davison, Dr. James H. Gilbaugh, Dr. Deborah G. Haynes, Dr. Joseph C. Meek Jr., Dr. Richard C. Shaw and Jon Rosell, executive director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County.

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