To the editor:
In every large community, there is a cluster of powerful people made up of social friends and business associates. This "Power Elite" quietly seeks to influence public policy.
As I observe the St. Luke's/Kansas University Hospital/KU Medical Center debate from a distance, it appears that some powerful Kansas City leaders who have just such influence have been attempting to direct the debate. St. Luke's has long enjoyed a prestigious No. 1 position among the greater K.C. hospitals, but in recent years the KU Hospital has replaced it and that does not sit well with the Elite. St. Luke's already has three KUMC residency programs, so that is not the real issue. Rather it is a question of prestige and market share for St. Luke's.
KUMC desires to become a recognized "cancer center," and St. Luke's money and Stowers Cancer Research Institute opportunities are the carrots these Elite control. And not to be ignored is the financial generosity to the KU Lawrence campus (KU School of Business, the Hall Center for the Humanities, etc.) controlled by the key players. There are actually many other sites in the greater Kansas City area and in many larger communities in the rest of Kansas that can be utilized for cancer research beds.
While care can be exercised in this agreement for affiliation, don't ever lose sight of St. Luke's predatory history (see Shawnee Mission Hospital's experience with it) and what will lie down the road with continual pressure from the Power Elite.
Dr. Phillip Godwin,