Archive for Friday, March 16, 2007

House lifts funding threat from KUMC

But amendment still requires majority approval for affiliation

March 16, 2007


— The House on Thursday removed Kansas University Medical Center from under its budget ax, but maintained requirements for the center to enter an affiliation with Missouri-based St. Luke's Hospital.

"This puts the issue to bed for the Legislature and allows us all to go forward," said state Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing.

The House approved 72-50 an amendment by Wilk to its proposed state budget that requires KUMC to get majority approval from the Kansas Board of Regents and KU Hospital board before it can implement an agreement with St. Luke's.

Later, the House added another amendment that requires the medical center to also get majority approval from the board of the Wichita Center for Graduate Medical Education, a joint operation of the medical center and two Wichita hospitals.

Many lawmakers have criticized KUMC's approach to St. Luke's, saying it would harm KU Hospital, which is the medical center's teaching hospital.

KUMC officials have said the affiliation with St. Luke's is needed to expand life sciences research and get designation as a national cancer center.

Last week, the House budget-writing committee added language to the proposed budget that said KUMC would lose its state funding - $116 million - if it entered an affiliation with St. Luke's and didn't receive majority approval from the KU Hospital board, regents and the Wichita Center for Graduate Medical Education Board.

But Wilk's amendment removed the funding threat.

"Let the pros negotiate this deal. We need to go about our business," he said.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, who has been critical of the proposed affiliation, supported Wilk's amendment, saying it ensured that no harm would come to KU Hospital.

"It's important we not do anything to harm our medical education system," he said.


Richard Boyd 11 years ago

Finally a little common sense, but hold your breath... as long as there is a Kansas Legislature and time left in the session, there is still plenty of time for them to stick their collective fingers in (flexing the "oversight" muscle) and bugger the whole thing up.

Kenny Wilks, in my opinion got it right, "Let the pros negotiate this deal. We need to go about our business" (Wilks) said.

I am still not sure what the REAL interest House Speaker Melvin Neufeld; R-Ingalls has in the whole thing. Being a weensy teensy but cynical with regard to our... Legislature, I would bet my lunch money there is some "motivation" besides the "benefit of Kansas" at the heart of his opposition.

His comment: "It's important we not do anything to harm our medical education system," on its face, based on the facts, is either the epitome of stupidity (NEGLIGENT IGNORANCE) or political brinksmanship, who could say? It is like standing under an umbrella in a downpour and deny it is raining!

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