Archive for Saturday, April 21, 2007

Budget has hospital proviso

April 21, 2007


— On Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' desk is the state's $12.3 billion budget bill. Included in that document is a proviso that Kansas University Hospital wants and KU Medical Center would like to see go away.

The proviso, approved by the Legislature, would give KU Hospital final say on whether KUMC could enter into an affiliation deal it seeks with St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Sebelius' office said Friday she will act on the measure Monday.

"(Sebelius) had hoped the Legislature would let the medical experts continue to deal with these issues, rather than stepping in," Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said. "Right now, she's examining exactly what the proviso's impact would be."

KUMC has said the partnership with St. Luke's is needed to help the medical center attain National Cancer Institute status and improve medical research and treatment. Sebelius wants that, too.

KU Hospital, which competes with St. Luke's, has said the affiliation will hurt the institution. Many lawmakers have questioned the proposed deal, fearing it would siphon Kansas tax dollars into Missouri at the expense of physician training in Kansas.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, has said that without the budget proviso the Legislature would not have approved the budget bill.

The Kansas Board of Regents and a bipartisan group of senators Friday urged Sebelius to veto the proviso.

The regents said the affiliation is in Kansas' best interest. "Because we believe the proviso is unnecessary, we urge the governor to veto it," they said.

The group of seven senators, including Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, called the proviso "ill-advised and potentially harmful to the future of health care in Kansas."


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