Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2007

House committee questions KU leaders about proposed Med Center affiliations

February 8, 2007


— Kansas University leaders Wednesday faced stern questioning from lawmakers about a proposed affiliation with Missouri-based St. Luke's Hospital.

"It has raised a lot of red flags," said state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, and chairwoman of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Landwehr said lawmakers support attempts by KU Medical Center to grow but added, "We think it's important that it be done right."

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said he would provide any information the committee wanted about the proposed affiliation, but he said a resolution being considered by the panel could kill KU Medical Center's efforts to become a national leader in life sciences.

"The restrictions imposed by it could easily prevent many promising and productive agreements from going forward," Hemenway said.

House Resolution 6006 urges KU Medical Center not to proceed with affiliations with other hospitals and health care institutions until the Legislature has an opportunity to review the proposals. A bill before the committee would require legislative approval for affiliations.

The committee took no action and will hear more testimony on the issue today.

In recent weeks, KU has signed letters of intent with St. Luke's Hospital and KU Hospital.

Hemenway said broad affiliations are necessary for KU to become a National Cancer Center. Also at the meeting were Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor of the Medical Center, and Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center.

But many lawmakers have said they are concerned that the proposal will hurt KU Hospital, which competes with St. Luke's.

Hemenway said KU Medical Center would do nothing to hurt KU Hospital, which is the medical center's primary hospital.

"This could be a win-win for everybody," he said.

He read a short statement from Irene Cumming, president and chief executive officer of KU Hospital, who said she was hopeful that questions about the deal could be resolved.

The Kansas Medical Society and Kansas Academy of Family Physicians expressed concerns that the agreement could reduce the quality of health care in Kansas and siphon Kansas tax dollars into Missouri.

Hemenway said he would never support anything that would compromise health care in Kansas or send tax dollars to another state. He said the proposed agreement with St. Luke's would expand training opportunities for medical students.

Landwehr said another concern was that KU Medical Center was resistant to legislative engagement in the process.

But Hemenway said, "We stand ready to share anything and everything with you."


Jayhawktriplegrad 11 years, 3 months ago

"Hemenway said he would never support anything that would compromise health care in Kansas or send tax dollars to another state"

What about hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes exported to MO with the moving of KU-MU game?


jgay_lord 11 years ago

I worked at KU MED for seven years and I can tell you it is a second rate institution in every respect. I grew up around Murray State University in western Kentucky. I've been around university people all my life and I can personally tell you that those working at KU MED don't have the quality of intelligence and education of those in western Kentucky.

notme 11 years ago

Its irresponsible to sign a long term strategic relationship solely based on the current whims of the federal government's funding policies. Funding guidelines can change in a heartbeat.

We will be stuck with the relationship for a long time. My questions is: Does the deal make sense without any outside funding? If not. then there is something fishy going on here....

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