Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2007

KU Hospital OK’s increased spending on Med Center

July 11, 2007

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KU Hospital nearing opening day

The yellow tape is still up and workers continue to wear hard hats, but Kansas University Hospital is fast approaching the Aug. 6 opening day for its new outpatient cancer center. Enlarge video

Kansas University Hospital officials said a good-faith effort was made Tuesday when $42.5 million of the hospital's 2008 budget was earmarked for the Kansas University Medical Center.

The KU Hospital Authority board met Tuesday and spent much of the meeting in executive session. But following the closed-door meeting, the board unanimously approved the operating budget for the 2008 fiscal year, which began July 1.

The $42.5 million number isn't a new one. It's cropped up in conversations about a three-way negotiation between the hospital, KUMC and the

hospital's across-town rival, St. Luke's Hospital.

For more than a year, St. Luke's and KUMC have been in discussions about establishing an affiliation.

KU Hospital - which has been the main teaching hospital for KUMC and spilt with the school in 1998 - has expressed concerns about the affiliation. KU Hospital officials have said it could put the hospital at a competitive disadvantage and entice faculty to move to St. Luke's.

One of the KUMC's chief complaints has been KU Hospital's lack of reinvesting money into the medical school.

In May, as part of a proposal that KU Hospital officials said was a win-win-win strategy for all entities, the hospital said it would commit $42.5 million a year toward KUMC.

The amount is $12.5 million more than what was given last year. The increase represents between 2 percent and 3 present of the hospital's annual operating budget, Chief Financial Officer Scott Glasrud 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 the school's faculty and research, KUMC spokeswoman Amy Jordan Wooden said.

"It's very clear there is a lot of work left to go before anything is finalized (on an agreement)," KU Hospital spokesman Dennis McCulloch said. "But, this is a good-faith move that we are serious about reaching an agreement. It's a place holder in the budget."

KUMC and St. Luke's continue to "plod" along in negotiations, Jordan Wooden said.

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