Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2007

No timeline set for hospital affiliation deal

August 11, 2007


Consider this the waiting room.

Just like a patient heading to the doctor's office, everybody interested in whether a new deal will be reached that will allow the Kansas University Hospital, the Kansas University Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital to move ahead on affiliation agreements is being asked to wait patiently.

"No timeline has been put on it," said Dennis McCulloch, a spokesman with KU Hospital. "It is more important to get it done right than to get it done by an artificial timeline."

KU Hospital, though, took a step in mid-July toward moving the process forward by approving a budget that included $42.5 million that would be earmarked for activities at KU Medical Center. That's an increase of about $12.5 million from past years, McCulloch said.

But the money would come with restrictions. McCulloch said KU Hospital leaders would insist on having any affiliation agreement that KU Medical Center leaders reach with St. Luke's be limited in scope. McCulloch said KU Hospital is particularly concerned about the ability of St. Luke's to use the KU name in its marketing efforts.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and several leaders at KU have expressed support for an affiliation between the KU Medical Center and Kansas City, Mo.-based St. Luke's. Supporters have said a partnership would increase life sciences research in the area and help KU attain national status as a cancer treatment center.

But KU Hospital, which already has been a longtime partner of KUMC, has said a medical school-St. Luke's affiliation would hurt KU Hospital and have no effect on attaining a national cancer center designation. St. Luke's and KU Hospital currently compete for many of the same patients.

McCulloch said the $42.5 million in the hospital's budget represented a good-faith effort on the hospital's part to reach an agreement with KU Med. Leaders with KUMC previously have complained that KU Hospital has not reinvested enough money into the medical school.

Amy Jordan Wooden, a KUMC spokeswoman, has said the hospital's contribution covers costs for the residency programs, KUMC's faculty members who work at the hospital and money that is used to bolster faculty and research.

Staff writers Scott Rothschild and Christine Metz contributed to this story


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