Archive for Friday, March 9, 2007

KU Med would lose state funding if affiliation goes forward

Budget proviso requires approval from other agencies

March 9, 2007


— Kansas University Medical Center would lose all its state funding -- $116 million -- if it signs an affiliation agreement with St. Luke's Hospital that fails to satisfy a majority of the KU Hospital board.

That's according to a budget proviso approved Friday by the House Appropriations Committee for the proposed spending plan that starts July 1.

KU Medical Center's School of Medicine is seeking a research and education affiliation with Kansas City, Mo.-based St. Luke's. But KU Hospital, the primary hospital of the School of Medicine, has said the affiliation would hurt it because it competes with St. Luke's.

State Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and vice chair of the appropriations, proposed the proviso.

"I just want to make sure that everyone that is a primary stakeholder in that, has an opportunity to weigh in on that issue," Tafanelli said.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, a member of the committee, opposed the measure. Later she said, "I don't like to hold agencies hostage."

Ballard said KU School of Medicine is aware of concern about the affiliation expressed by the Legislature and will address those concerns without the need of a budget proviso.

Tafanelli's measure was approved on an 11-10 vote with Committee Chair Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, voting in favor of it to break a tie.

She said several legislators had told her of concerns from constituents about the proposed affiliation.

The appropriations bill goes to the full House next week for consideration.

The proviso states that the KU Medical Center would get no state funding if it affiliates with St. Luke's unless it also gets majority support from the KU Hospital board, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Wichita Center for Graduate Medical Education Board.


Tristan Moody 10 years, 11 months ago

Since when did the state legislature become so anticompetitive? It seems to me that while KU hospital may win from this deal, it would only serve to hurt patients by restricting a teaching hospital's partnerships. I don't really see a real need to restrict KUMed's affiliations, and I think it's quite underhanded to put such a budget proviso in place. Once again, the legislature is deciding it knows what is best for higher education. We may as well disband the Board of Regents.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

"State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, a member of the committee, opposed the measure. Later she said, "I don't like to hold agencies hostage."

Sure. Why have legislators at all? Just let the agencies govern themselves, and levy their own taxes without representation.

Ms. Ballard has an obvious conflict of interest here and should not even vote.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

This is interesting. KUMC could actually sign affiliation agreements with St. Luke's? And KUMC would then lose $116 million of annual state funding? That's it?

Hmmm... smart move for the legislature. This accomplishes two things:

  1. It actually gives KUMC the ability to affiliate with St. Luke's if they can find money elsewhere? Is that what this means?
  2. It is a golden parachute. If affiliations are not approved by KU Hospital, the Kansas Board of Regents, or WCGME, then the state pulls the plug? When New Jersey had that problem, it really hurt the state. It could really devistate a hospital. These legislators must not understand the symbiotic relationship here. Killing one would just kill both.

What's most interesting is that these legislators don't even understand the issue. KU Hospital wants exclusive rights to KU's brand name. As I understand it, that's the main catching point. This proviso says that if KU Hospital isn't happy with affiliations that KUMC and St. Luke's have, they can pull the golden parachute, and kill everything? I don't understand how giving KU Hospital a golden parachute will help things progress.

It is a good thing we have these legislators completely wasting their time and our taxpayer $'s.

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