Archive for Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sebelius vetoes KUMC proviso

Measure would give KU Hospital final say on affiliation

April 24, 2007


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday vetoed a budget proviso that would have required approval by Kansas University Hospital before a proposed affiliation could be established between KU Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital.

It was Sebelius' only line-item veto in the $12.3 billion state spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

"While I understand the concerns of the proponents of the restrictions contained in this proviso, there is already a more than sufficient level of oversight provided by current law," Sebelius said in her veto message.

"Any affiliation would have to be approved by the Board of Regents, for example, and I do not believe we should return to the past pattern of micromanagement that is proposed in this proviso," she said.

The proviso was put in the budget by lawmakers who said they feared the proposed agreement between KUMC and Kansas City, Mo.-based St. Luke's would have a negative effect on KU Hospital, which is the medical center's partner and competes with St. Luke's.

In addition, some lawmakers - especially those from Wichita and western Kansas - said a KUMC affiliation with St. Luke's could reduce the number of physicians and quality of health care in Kansas.

But KUMC officials said affiliation would improve medical research and help KU win designation as a national cancer center.

One of the leading supporters of the proviso was House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls.

He expressed disappointment in Sebelius' veto and questioned her reasoning that regents' scrutiny of the affiliation was enough.

"We felt the Kansas Board of Regents was negligent in not taking care of business," Neufeld said. "There was virtually no oversight on medical education concerns. We all want KUMC to be a great research institution, but we also need to pay attention to the educational component."

Neufeld said the House would monitor the KUMC negotiations process "to make sure Kansas interests are protected."

He also said inclusion of the proviso helped the Legislature approve the budget.

But it doesn't appear that proviso supporters have the necessary two-thirds support needed to override Sebelius' veto, said Rep. Jim Morrison, R-Colby, whose committee had extensive hearings on the affiliation issue.

Lawmakers return Wednesday for a wrap-up session. To override Sebelius' veto would require 84 votes in the 125-member House and 27 votes in the 40-member Senate. The budget bill passed earlier this month in the House 64-57 and the Senate 26-14.

Meanwhile, Dr. George Farha, chairman of the KU Hospital Authority Board, indicated in a statement that despite the veto, the proviso helped KU Hospital.

"The hospital believes that the legislative action has played a constructive role in developing the guiding principles to lead to an agreement between the hospital and the medical center," Farha said. "We hope today's decision does not disrupt the momentum toward an agreement."

Amy Jordan Wooden, a spokeswoman for KUMC, praised Sebelius for the veto, saying it would allow KU Hospital and the medical center "to go forward on a level playing field."

Regardless of the veto, Farha urged Sebelius and the Legislature to "remain engaged in the process to support finding the solution where no one is harmed under this affiliation concept."

Sebelius said KUMC's proposed research affiliation with St. Luke's would not harm KU Hospital, and was needed for KU's bid to be a nationally designated cancer center.

She also rejected the argument that KU's relationship with St. Luke's would hurt health care in Kansas.


oldgoof 11 years, 1 month ago

Neufeld has never supported higher people should exercise caution before agreeing with him on this issue, or any issue, regarding higher education.

clyde_never_barks 11 years, 1 month ago

I would agree with goof - Neufeld is the same guy who thinks we should enact local taxes to further support KU (and likewise for any host town) because that is where the benefit is most felt. Unfortunately, he has no idea how wrong he is. Hopefully this is his last stint in the legislature.

sinedie 11 years, 1 month ago

He was also the one who decided that there was no need for a higher education standing committee, and eliminated it before the session began.

Too bad.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 11 years, 1 month ago

Your ad hominems in this case are simply protecting an extremely corrupt governor who just sold the citizens of Kansas down the river. Fortunately for her the Kansas media is as corrupt as she is.

Godot 11 years, 1 month ago

What's the matter with Kansas? Answer: Kathleen Sebelius' political ambitions.

Godot 11 years, 1 month ago

Isn't it ironic that the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" lives in the same neighborhood as the Halls and Hockadays?

Adele Hall was one of GWB's biggest fund raisers, and in charge of raising money for Roberts' reelection campaign?

Is this a neighborhood rivalry, or something else?

Godot 11 years, 1 month ago

A few rich people in Mission Hills with more money than sense?

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

I would say that given the facts, research is called for. A topic like this, should be a topic of great debate. However if we look at the cold facts, we find no one has the answer. When topics are covered, money plays an important role in the outcome of all discussions. Furthermore there must be a fine line between the decision and the topic at hand

Godot 11 years, 1 month ago

We can always count on budwhysir to clear the muddy waters of intrigue.

Godot 11 years, 1 month ago

I should have written, "we can always count on budwhysir to clear the waters muddied by intrigue."

Bill Chapman 11 years, 1 month ago

With all the behind the scenes dealing going on with this proposal, I don't see how anyone can really figure this out. Not to mention the conflicting intrests involved.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.