Archive for Thursday, March 8, 2007

Lawmakers critical of hospital affiliation

March 8, 2007


— Several lawmakers Wednesday expressed dismay with Kansas University's proposal to affiliate with Missouri-based St. Luke's Hospital.

"We represent the people of this state, and I'm telling you there is an awful lot of distrust of KU," said Rep. Jim Morrison, R-Colby, chairman of the House Government Efficiency and Technology Committee.

Several committee members also criticized the Kansas Board of Regents for failing to get more involved in KU's proposal. The committee, which had scheduled three meetings this week on the issue, said it would hold more meetings next week to get testimony from members of the Kansas Board of Regents.

"This is a volatile enough issue," Morrison said.

The dispute centers on an effort by the KU School of Medicine to enter into an affiliation with St. Luke's Hospital, a Kansas City, Mo.-based hospital that competes with KU Hospital.

KU leaders say the affiliation is needed to advance life sciences in the region, win a national cancer center designation, and lure private philanthropy research dollars in Missouri.

KU Hospital says the proposal will harm it and Kansas' ability to train and recruit doctors.

On Wednesday, Reginald Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Board of Regents, told the committee that the board was generally pleased with the effort by the KU School of Medicine.

"We have been fully apprised of that vision, and it is a vision that the board has embraced," Robinson said.

The board has been criticized by some lawmakers for failing to protect Kansas' interests in the negotiations.

But Robinson said the board has limited authority in the matter - it oversees the KU Medical Center, which includes the School of Medicine, but it has few dealings with KU Hospital, which operates under an independent board.

"This situation represents a complicated structural dynamic," Robinson said.

But committee members said the Regents must maintain the integrity of health care training in Kansas.

Rep. Joe McLeland, R-Wichita, said the affiliation with St. Luke's could hurt KU's School of Medicine in Wichita.

"I see this as pulling residents and interns out of Wichita and putting them in Kansas City," he said.

Robinson reiterated KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway's statements that the school would do nothing to harm KU Hospital or health care in Kansas.

Morrison then asked Robinson if the Regents would commit to opposing any affiliation agreement that didn't have the OK from KU Hospital.

"I'm not prepared to make that commitment," Robinson said.

Morrison then said it would be necessary to have board members testify, probably Tuesday or Wednesday.

Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center, is scheduled to testify today before the committee.

Earlier Wednesday, KU School of Medicine and KU Hospital issued conflicting statements on how negotiations were going between the two entities.

Atkinson said "substantial agreement was achieved on a number of issues."

But Irene Cumming, KU Hospital chief executive officer, responded with a statement that said "we have significant unresolved issues."

Atkinson said KU and the hospital reached accord on several issues, including future financial investments in the School of Medicine, the number of residents at KU Hospital and "defining the future alignment between the physicians and the KU Hospital and the KU School of Medicine."

But Cumming said issues of whether KU Hospital would play a lead role in efforts to get national cancer center designation, and the way in which St. Luke's will use the KU brand, remain up in the air.

"More troubling to the hospital," she said, "are areas where we seem as far or farther apart than ever."


ed 10 years, 9 months ago

The legistlature needs to look at the best teaching medical centers in the USA, and figure out why they are the best. Some work with many hospitals (Harvard). Others work with very large hospitals (Wash U). It is no coincidence that the best medical centers have a lot of patients.

As students and faculty see more patients, it is very educational. As they become better educated, they are able to practice better medicine. This leads to better healthcare for all Kansans.

Affiliation will create collaboration. Collaboration will educate students and provide better healthcare for all Kansans.

yme 10 years, 9 months ago

If its all about collaboration and seeing as many patients as possible, then why are negotiations limited to St. Luke's? Why not include Shawnee Mission or any other number of hospitals in Kansas? Why not include North Kansas City, Research or St. Joseph's Hospital, all in KCMO and all have fine cancer programs? The question is not should there be affiliations, the question should be why is all the emphasis on St. Luke's? Saying this is about cancer research is mostly a red herring, this is about promoting a specific Kansas City, Missouri hospital. This could severly damage KU's Hospital and the services it provides. Remember, it gets no tax money now. If the number of insureds drops and the uninsureds don't, someone will have to make up the money.

ed 10 years, 9 months ago

I think that collaboration with other hospitals would be great. University of Colorado's Medical Center works with 5 different hospitals. I don't think KU Hospital wants collaboration with ANY other hospitals (to the detriment of the healthcare system for Kansans).

Why did KUMC pick St Luke's? I'd assume because it is the second biggest hospital in KC (behind KU Hospital), and it does have a strong emphasis on cancer. And it is also located closest to KUMC. Those are three good reasons to pick St Luke's.

FYI, KC's largest hospitals by revenue: Hospital -Beds- Revenue ($000) The University of Kansas Hospital -437- $1,250,890 Saint Luke's Hospital -447- $1,137,860 North Kansas City Hospital -451- $935,653 Shawnee Mission Medical Center -315- $901,255 Research Medical Center -437- $847,782

yme 10 years, 9 months ago

You are incorrect, it has NO emphasis on cancer. A private company owns ALL cancer services at St. Luke's. And your numbers make my point, there are many sound alternatives. I don't think it would hurt if St. Luke's were part of a large coalition, but to be the alternative is pretty iffy. But your numbers again prove the point, this is all about St. Luke's being a big dog at KU's expense, not about cancer research.

ed 10 years, 9 months ago

You liar! How can you state opinons without facts?

You say that St Luke's has "NO emphasis on cancer"? The truth is that St Luke's Cancer Institute is "The only hospital licensed by the states of Missouri and Kansas specifically designated to provide cancer services." This quote is directly from their website.

You say that a "private company owns ALL cancer services at St. Luke's." The truth is that "Saint Luke's Cancer Institute is one of the largest nonprofit providers in the region, dedicated to providing comprehensive cancer services."

My numbers state that St. Luke's is the second largest hospital in the Kansas City area. My email states that St. Luke's is also the closest hospital to KUMC. These are all great reasons to pick St. Luke's for affiliation.

There is no conspiracy.

You are an idiot.

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