Archive for Saturday, May 5, 2007

Simons: Phony arguments continue to cloud KUMC negotiations

May 5, 2007


Say what they may, the public is not getting an accurate, honest story from Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway, KU Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Atkinson, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas City philanthropic and civic leader Bill Hall, KUMC spokesman David Adkins and others about the unfolding hospital mess in Kansas City.

What the public has been fed are half-truths, if not lies, double-talk, shifting story lines, hollow threats, phony arguments and political pressure tactics.

If it wasn't such a serious, embarrassing display of poor leadership and supposedly respected individuals not shooting straight with the public, the situation would be laughable.

However, it is not a laughing matter, and all Kansans should be concerned and angered.

The chancellor, Provost Richard Lariviere, Atkinson, the governor and a handful of Johnson County legislators have been pushing a plan to give away the KU Medical Center and KU Hospital brand name to St. Luke's Hospital. The proposed deal includes the medical school providing St. Luke's 100 medical residents a year to help improve medical care at St. Luke's and help that hospital strengthen its position in Kansas City, Mo.

KU leaders have tried to sell the story that the only way KUMC and KU Hospital can attain a National Cancer Institute or Comprehensive Cancer Center designation is for KU to provide residents to St. Luke's.

This has been disputed by an individual who is one of the nation's most respected professionals in the field of helping medical centers receive cancer center certification. He said the excellence and scope of clinical cancer research is the critical factor in a medical center or hospital attaining the highly prized designation, not whether a hospital has an arrangement to exchange or provide residents to a hospital such as St. Luke's

It's a phony argument! Those favoring such a plan claim that if KU doesn't give in and provide the doctors, St. Luke's will hook up with Washington University and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. This, too, is a phony, hollow threat because several senior Washington University officials have said they know nothing about such a plan.

Time and time again, those pushing the St. Luke's affiliation come up with new arguments to try to convince a trusting or gullible public or a lazy Kansas Board of Regents that the KU giveaway is a sound move for the university and would do no harm to the medical school or hospital.

In fact, the almost-fanatical defense and support of the giveaway by Hemenway, Atkinson, Sebelius and a few others raises suspicions about what may be behind their support of a plan that does no good for the medical center or the state. Consider:

¢ Why would the governor become so entwined, trying to manipulate the placement of directors on the hospital board? Why get her feet muddied when she is concerned about her future political career?

¢ Longtime, knowledgeable Kansas legislators say they cannot remember any time in his tenure that Hemenway has spent so much time prowling Capitol hallways trying to get lawmakers to support his position.

¢ Speaking of lobbying, there are many situations that appear to be conflicts of interest. It is interesting to note, for instance, that Kathy Damron, a highly regarded lobbyist, represents both St. Luke's and the KU Medical Center. Adkins, vice chancellor of external affairs at the medical center, reportedly hired Damron some time ago, putting in place an effective spokesperson who is being paid by both St. Luke's and KU to sell their story to state legislators. Why wouldn't KU use its own lobbyist, at least to give the impression it was acting on a matter in a sound, independent manner rather than bowing to St. Luke's interests?

¢ Why would KU want to sign up with St. Luke's, whose other recent affiliations with hospitals in the Kansas City area have not proven to be bell-ringers?

¢ Hemenway has lost respect both on the Lawrence and Kansas City campuses because of his handling of the hospital matter. Likewise, the Board of Regents has been exposed as a weak, lazy body (almost in a fog) that doesn't exercise any meaningful oversight of the universities for which it is supposed to be responsible.

¢ The arrogance of many representing the university has been exposed to an even greater degree, and this does not play well with state legislators. It is not going to make things easier for KU's future requests to lawmakers.

¢ Hemenway recently sent a three-page, single-spaced letter to a fairly wide audience in which he justified all his actions concerning the hijacking of the KU medical school and KU Hospital. In the letter, the chancellor tries to correct what he calls "misconceptions" about the affiliation plan. He concentrates on trying to paint KU Hospital as the bad guys. He doesn't mention her specifically, but it is obvious he and Atkinson will do whatever they can to damage the reputation of departing KU Hospital CEO Irene Cumming. In the letter, Hemenway notes the fiscal success of the hospital but suggests it has been keeping too many dollars for itself rather than sharing those funds with the medical center.

¢ Hemenway also makes it clear he and Atkinson want more control over the doctors, who are a major factor in the ongoing medical civil war. Hospital directors say they believe the doctors should be able to control their own destiny and they do not intend to hand over control of the doctors to Atkinson and Hemenway.

¢ Negotiations between the hospital and medical school are under way with the doctor situation and the revenue issue being two of the most contentious points. One participant in some of these discussions said, "The last session was the worse such session I've ever been a part of."

¢ Hospital board members also say they believe it is important for the board to have representation at these sessions and be fully aware of what is being proposed before they are asked to approve any agreement.

¢ Contrary to what Hemenway may claim, such as "the KU Hospital is concentrating on building its cash reserves" as opposed to handing over more money to the medical center, it should be remembered that KU Hospital officials offered KUMC $400 million over 10 years to maintain the current relationship between the two entities. Atkinson turned down that offer, saying there were too many conditions she would not accept.

¢ It appears the newest "deadline" set by St. Luke's boosters for an agreement is likely to come and go just as previous deadlines have. With state legislators looking into the legality of Sebelius' handling of hospital board appointments, the probability of a number of audits of the medical school's financial dealings and yet-to-be determined details of any relationship with St. Luke's, it would seem wrong to rush into any agreement with St. Luke's.

¢ Kansas House Speaker Melvin Neufeld and Rep. Jim Morrison deserve the thanks of all Kansans for refusing to be knocked over by Hemenway and his fellow lobbyists who have tried to pressure them to back off on questioning the hospital deal. When the secret meetings started almost two years ago to slip this KU giveaway past state legislators, some in Kansas City said, "Don't worry; no one in Topeka will pay any attention to this." Thank goodness for Neufeld and Morrison. It is hoped other lawmakers will demand to know more about what Hemenway, the governor and others have tried to manipulate behind the backs of lawmakers, the Board of Regents and the public.

There are many other disappointing or ugly facets of this mess, but it is hoped any agreement that may be reached will be far different than what Hall, civic leader Irv Hockaday, St. Luke's CEO Richard Hastings, Hemenway, Atkinson, Adkins, some folks at Stowers Institute, Medical Center Chief of Staff Shelley Gebar and a handful of Johnson County legislators had hoped to mastermind.

As one hospital director noted, "after all these months of exposure after exposure, isn't it interesting that during all the efforts by the St. Luke's people, Hemenway and the KU medical school proponents to push the giveaway plan, the talk has centered on three things: politics, power and greed, with nothing said about patient care."

This has not been a proud period for those trying to sell out the KU medical school and KU Hospital.


Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Superb journalism. This is not about party politics. This is not whether you're a Democrat or Republican, this is about corruption. Notice now that joining the list is David Adkins the phony "vice-chancellor" who became notorious when he became the poster child for Kansas corruption in the Ralph Nader group's 50 states project.

Republicans who might want to gloat over Sebelius obvious prostitution of her office to Missouri bigwigs should also note that those Johnson County legislators are primarily Republicans and that this project seems to have come on board with turncoat Republican, Mark Parkinson. And while some of the regents are Sebelius appointees, where is regent Dick Bond in all this?

There is plenty of corruption in both political parties to go around, and it seems that all of the crooks have assembled to feast off KU Hospital's profitable carcass.

Irene Cummins has been declared to be one of the top 25 women in health care in America and Hemenway and this Atkinson woman have obviously driven her off. They too should pay with their jobs, but they're apparently being protected by the same people who gave Adkins his make work assignment - or was selling out KU Hospital the reason he was hired?

All-in-all, how unfortunate that our Kansas governor appears to be a Missouri *.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

So you're argument is that there is a conspiracy?

Let's see. It includes: Jim Stowers of American Century, and founder of Stowers Institute. The Halls of Hallmark Irv Hockaday and the Kansas City Life Sciences Organization Govenor Sebilius Chancellor Hemingway The Kansas City Star Jim Spigarelli, CEO of Midwest Research Karen Pletz, Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience Rich Hastings, CEO of St. Lukes Dr William Neaves, PhD. and Robert Krumlauf, PhD. of Stowers Institute Roy Jensen, Director of the KU Cancer Center Barbara Atkinson, KUMC Executive Vice Chancellor Provost Richard Lariviere A handful of Johnson County Legislators Center Chief of Staff Shelley Gebar Kathy Damron, a highly regarded lobbyist Adkins, Vice Chancellor of External Affairs

These are just some of the thousands of people and organizations behind this initiative.

In my opinion, most of these are intelligent, good people. They have fought to improve Kansas City and make it a better place. These are all people from diverse backgrounds that have come together for a central cause. And yet you say that these people are not driven by a desire to improve Kansas City? They are driven by "politics, power, and greed?"

This is a terrible accusation for someone like Jim Stowers, a selfless samaritan who has donated billions of dollars to medical research.

This is a terrible allegation against the Hall family, who have spent an enormous amount of money to make Kansas City a better place.

It is sad that you have to insult these people to put together your consiracy theory.

Thousands of people have come together to make this happen. They have been building and shaping an initiative to improve healthcare for Americans in the long term, while providing jobs for many Kansas Citians. These are smart people. And, in your article, you accuse these good samaritans of being in some sort of conspiracy? And their motive is what? Power and greed?

You have written over and over trying to stop this collaboration. The real question should be, what is your motive, Mr. Dolph?

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

The point is made that these people have allegedly helped Kansas City be a better place. While that in itself is questionable, the fact is that you're still talking about Kansas City - MISSOURI and ripping off the citizens of Kansas to improve the well being of a few big shots from Kansas City MISSOURI.

And isn't it amazing that while the assertion is made that "thousands of people" are trying to make this happen, why is it that the head of KU Hospital and the mayor of Kansas City, KS and even most of the members of the Kansas Board of Regents were not among those thousands with knowledge of the negotiations until they were virtually a fait accompli? And isn't it amazing that among these alleged thousands only the same few names keep popping up and that the few Johnson County legislators aren't terribly anxious to be identified by name?

By virtually any account, Kansas City is one of the most corrupt cities in the country. That doesn't happen unless a significant portion of its establishment is on board with the corruption, and benefits from it. Sorry, but your reverse ad hominem is no more useful than the attempts to slander those who are trying to expose this rip off..

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

I wonder what the list of names (and titles) associated with Watergate looked like? I also wonder how many were tied in to the Bi-State scams hat also tried to stick the hands of many of these same Missouri bigshots into the pockets of Kansas taxpayers.

LJD230 10 years, 11 months ago

"This has not been a proud period for those trying to sell out the KU medical school and KU Hospital." So sayeth Mr. D. Simon!

Mr. Simon do you consider yourself among this number?

Kansas was the laughing stock of the nation when it engaged in the absurdist duel between the creationists and evolutionists. And now some politicians and journalists are engaged in another tumult that has great potential for regional, if not, national embarassment.

This argument has infinitely more dire and grave consequences: the health of a region and the status of a University are at stake. Indeed, all the medical and educational arguments that have been advanced in opposition are simply logical and intellectual fallacies without merit.

If this initiative fails, who among the journalists and politicians that are in oppostion will trumpet their very hollow victory that leaves the KU medical school with it's current less than sterling academic reputation(NOT EVEN IN THE TOP FIFTY FOR PRIMARY CARE AND FAMILY CARE PROGRAMS) and the hospital fighting for market share with an energized St. Luke's that has achieved affiliation with a medical school of the first rank?. And to think this won't happen is exponential naivite.

What is the benefit of the status quo?

Mr. Simon, if you and your political bedfellows care one wit about the university,KU Hospital and KUMC, carry on your rantings about political process all you wish but be aware the failure of this initiative holds the promise of great harm to the reputation of the University of Kansas as an emerging national research institutiuon and it's related efforts to improve the process and quality of medical care and medical education in Kansas..

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

It would seem that if KU and the KU Medical School do not have sterling academic credentials their current leadership shoudl be examined more closely. Ms. Cummins, the administrator that has been driven off was in the top 25 most influential women in the country in the field of health care. Atkinson and Hemenway are nobodies who should be fired for their incompetence and betrayal.

KansasMeadowlark 10 years, 11 months ago

Follow the money:

  • 6/8/2006 $500 to Paul Morrison from Barbara F Atkinson ("Republican")
  • 9/1/2006 $2000 to Kathleen Sebelius from Atkinson
  • 9/21/2006 $500 to Paul Morrison from Atkinson

  • 10/9/2006 Irvine Hockaday, Jr ("Republican) $2000 and Ellen (wife, "Republican") $2000 to Kathleen Sebelius

  • 10/3/2006 Irvine O Hockaday $1000 to Paul Morrison
  • 2/24/2006 Ellen Hockaday $1000 to Kathleen Sebelius
  • 3/2/2005 $150 Mrs. Irvine Hockaday to Kathleen Sebelius
  • 7/14/2004 $100 Irv Hockaday, Jr. to Barbara Allen
  • 11/1/2002 $500 from Irvine O Hockaday Jr and $250 from Mrs I. O. Hockaday to Kathleen Sebelius

  • 10/30/2006 James L Adkins (David Adkins' dad, "Republican", almost octogenarian from Cottonwood Falls) $300 to Paul Morrison

  • 9/26/2006 James Adkins (David Adkins' dad) $100 to Kathleen Sebelius
  • 8/7/2006 James L Adkins (David Adkins' dad) $500 to Paul Morrison
  • 6/2/2006 James Adkins (David Adkins' dad) $100 and Lisa Adkins (David Adkins' wife, "Republican") to Kathleen Sebelius

The press has not yet connected dots to Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, who gave $100,000+ for at least two mailings to get Paul Morrison elected Attorney General What legal opinion or action/inaction does this group need from Paul Morrison?

David Adkins Vice Chancellor for External Affairs University of Kansas Medical Center

Barbara Atkinson, MD Executive Vice Chancellor University of Kansas Medical Center

Robert Hemenway, PhD Chancellor University of Kansas

Irvine O. Hockaday, Jr. Chairman of the Board Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

"What legal opinion or action/inaction does this group (Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures) need from Paul Morrison?" How about Missouri hospitals and universities located inside Kansas borders will be allowed to do stem cell research per Missouri's law? It was the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures that pushed and passed Amendment 2: The Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. I doubt Kansans would pass such a law and they would like to find a way around it.

JSpizias 10 years, 11 months ago

An article in the Lawrence JournaL World recently noted "Sebelius said she would do everything she could to keep Stowers researchers working in the area. She said collaboration with the institute was key to KU getting designation as a cancer center."

How valid is such an assertion? Research grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are one of the best measures of who is doing significant cancer research. Grants funded by the NCI contain the designation "CA" as part of the identifying number. Data on all NIH research grants are available by state from:

The Moffitt Cancer Institute associated with the University of South Florida is an example of an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, involved in both research and state of the art cancer care.

The following are data for FY06 on total NIH grants and NCI (CA) grants for Moffitt, The University of South Florida, KUMC, and Stowers.

Moffitt: 84 NIH grants, 66 of which are from NCI

University of South Florida: 74 NIH grants, 17 of which are from NCI

KUMC: 112 NIH grants, 13 of which are from NCI

Stowers Institute: 13 NIH grants, none of which are from the NCI

Certainly, some Stowers researchers are funded by internal funding to do work that might be considered cancer research. However, for the governor to claim that collaboration with the institute (Stowers) is key to KU getting designation as a cancer center" is absurd.

Readers should examine carefully the destruction wrought at the UMKC School of Biological Science as a consequence of the involvement of some of Kansas City's "movers and shakers", a number of which are apparently now also involved in the St. Luke's affair.

I think the whole episode with KU Hospital and KUMC illustrates how destructive it is to universities when university administrators and business leaders come to view the university as nothing more than an engine for economic development. To quote Donna Shalala, former Chancellor of U. Wisconsin in an article on the role of university faculty (Faculty as Senior Partners) published in a book edited by former Chancellor Budig:

"But a university is not a business. It is a repository of reasoned discourse and a moral force. Bottom-line concerns must be counterbalanced by moral and intellectual ones that have no dollar value."

When we forget this and faculty are viewed by higher administrators as simply employees to be managed in a top down fashion with little or no real input into major decisions we put the university itself in peril.

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

This dispute is largely over. The Governor will line-item veto the proviso, which was probably unconstitutional to begin with. If Neufeld really had legislative support for his views, he would have passed a bill. People like Ulhrick who want to vent and be vile without listening to the other side are just empty wind. The issue is complex. Nor is the issue even remotely related to the UMKC issue. But I am sure the publisher will continue to write columns.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

Sigmund, I agree; it is also about the grant money from Missouri that KU Med can access through St. Lukes, as long as they do the research on the Missouri side.

The groups behind stem cell research are relentless and ruthless in achieving their goals; and they are bi-partisan. Adele Hall was a Bush pioneer. Did she not know where he stood on stem cell research funding?

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

Oldgoof, while I am sure "this issue is complex" is a true statement, simply stating this without an attempted explanation of the complexity to support your position leads the reader to a unstated part of your argument, "and you aren't bright enough to understand." Right or wrong, Dolph has done a very competent job expressing his concerns, explaining why he has them, and dealing with the complexity. Not an easy task I think you would admit.

Dolph notes that, "What the public has been fed are half-truths, if not lies, double-talk, shifting story lines, hollow threats, phony arguments and political pressure tactics" and then goes about listing evidence to support that position. These are not complex ideas at all. They are the standard practices of the used car salesman and scam artists worldwide and is something Kansan's of average intelligence do understand.

Given these types of tactics by the proponents I am sure Dolph is not the only person who has some concern about what is really going on here. I applaud Dolph for digging into this issue, staying with it, and keeping us apprised of his informed opinion on what is really going on here and why.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

hmmm. that did not turn out like I expected.

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

"One gets the feeling that the Stowers are genuinely fine folks whose endowment is being used in some very bad ways" ...

Good grief..... read a few documents and news articles Uhlrick and get a clue. Your paranoid behavior is usually found in the conservative republicans you detest so much. Are your meds up to date?

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

Ulhrick sez: "It was the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures that pushed and passed "Amendment 2: The Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative." I doubt Kansans would pass a similar amendment." .. Actually Ulhrick, I it my personal belief that Kansas would enact it by about 15% more. But you might have discovered in your arm-chair resesarch that such an amendment is not likely in Kansas since Kansas does not have the same initiative and referendum structure as does Missouri. Kansas has no direct initiative, which is what this was in Missouri.
.. But I guess you know it all already.

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Godot. I hope Dolph continues to look into this issue.

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

Sigmund: you write that my statements imply that others are not bright enough to understand 'the other side.' I actually have tried to discuss this issue with others.... and have even had it suggested to me I was getting close to 'stalking' because I wanted to discuss this issue with a member.

The length necessarily to get to the underlying ssues in this topic require writing or actual conversation beyond the length appropriate for this forum. Feel free to contact me offline, if you would want to pursue that. You generally reflect a rationale in your posts, even if your conclusions end of different than mine.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Regardless the complexity of the issue, one thing seems certain and that is that Kathleen Sebelius is hell bent on selling out the citizens of Kansas to her Missouri benefactors. Many thanks to Meadowlark for putting at least a partial price tag on Governor Roundheels' support.

As I've pointed out, if nothing else, this issue has shown just how widespread the corruption in Kansas is.

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

Oldgoof, it has been so long since I've been stalked that I might be flattered! I do think that the public at large benefits from discussions online and that would be my preference. On the other hand if you prefer to contact me privately, feel free to email me. Might I suggest you email Dolph as well? I think he has the interest and resources to look into your information. Perhaps you can help straighten this mess out.

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

JSpizias writes about intellectual property (IP) issues involving these entities. Yes. They are complex, and some might perceive some of these as having conflicts of interest. And there are potentials for conflicts of interest. The process to take basic research IP and move it to commercialization is complex. This topic by itself is worthy of books. But I think th assertion here is just a red herring. There are federal and state approaches to these issues which seem to minimize the potential to abuses. Start with reasons for enactment of the Bayh-Dole Act in the 1980s. Lets start with those JSpizias, and then we can engage in the conversation. But again, this conversation could be lengthy and perhaps done not on such a forum as this. Most would argue that states (and their institutions like UMKC and KUMC) should specifically take an interest in, and manage IP assests for the benefit of their state.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

I am told that if one Googles Atkinson and Philadelphia that the results will be intriguing (oldgoof, take note here). While Irene Cummins built up KU Hospital from a fiscal disaster area into a financial powerhouse (money now coveted by Sebelius' Missouri sponsors) Ms Atkinson and some of the folks she brought with her from Philly were enmeshed in running her former institution into bankruptcy.

One of the other players in this mess on Atkinson's side is David Atkins. Atkins received national recognition by a Nader group for his unethical conduct as a Kansas senator and was also disciplined as an attorney, something to do with mishandling an old lady's estate. His qualifications as a vice-chancellor are suspect to say the least. Real sweet bunch we have here.

This is yet another disaster that has come out of this sorry affair. We have lost one of the top 25 women in health care in the country and several other top notch people, but we're still stuck with losers like Hemenway, Atkinson and Atkins.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Here's just a tidbit about that mess. Sound familiar?

From Physician's News:

"In mid-July, a number of AUHS's faculty members feared that Allegheny's looming bankruptcy would jeopardize student loans and applied pressure to get those loans protected by legislation, according to Donald S. Faber, Ph.D., chair of Allegheny University's Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy.

With Allegheny's July 21 hospital bankruptcy filing, and Allegheny appointing its attorney as the university's attorney, says Faber, it became clear that there was no independent voice for the university's interests. Spurred by a lack of trust in the leadership that had brought the university to bankruptcy, the faculty asked that a more broad-based representative structure be developed."

Conflicts of interest, legislature called in to protect the institution from incompetent leadership, what's the old saw about history repeating itself?

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

Uhlrick, I am not impressed by your one sided slander. Nor that magazine ranking. I know about Philadelphia. Non sequitur. You have already established you do not want to really learn about the underlying issues.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

Uhlrick said: "The point is made that these people have allegedly helped Kansas City be a better place. While that in itself is questionable, the fact is that you're still talking about Kansas City - MISSOURI and ripping off the citizens of Kansas to improve the well being of a few big shots from Kansas City MISSOURI."

Ed's reply: So the goal of these philanthropists is to "rip off citizens of Kansas" to improve the "well being" of Kansas City, Missouri's "big shots"? Somehow that doesn't seem like a well thought out motive.

Uhlrick said: "And isn't it amazing that while the assertion is made that "thousands of people" are trying to make this happen, why is it that the head of KU Hospital and the mayor of Kansas City, KS and even most of the members of the Kansas Board of Regents were not among those thousands with knowledge of the negotiations until they were virtually a fait accompli?"

Ed's reply: What is the best way to have handled this? If you look at my prior posts, you will see my argument that KU Hospital and KU Med Center have completely different raisons d'etre. I think most people would agree. Rather than having two opposing sides battle it out with each other in the same room (St. Luke's and KU Hospital), KUMC played the role of the mediator. This seems like an efficient way to handle this situation. How would you have handled it?

Uhlrick said: "By virtually any account, Kansas City is one of the most corrupt cities in the country. That doesn't happen unless a significant portion of its establishment is on board with the corruption, and benefits from it. Sorry, but your reverse ad hominem is no more useful than the attempts to slander those who are trying to expose this rip off.."

Ed says: What are the facts or statistics backing up your allegation that "Kansas City is one of the most corrupt cities in the country?"

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

Uhlrich says: "It would seem that if KU and the KU Medical School do not have sterling academic credentials their current leadership shoudl be examined more closely. Ms. Cummins, the administrator that has been driven off was in the top 25 most influential women in the country in the field of health care. Atkinson and Hemenway are nobodies who should be fired for their incompetence and betrayal."

By most standards, KU Med Center is moving up in rankings. As for Ms. Cumming being "driven off," well, that isn't exactly what happened. Her new job is basically a promotion. Her new position is CEO of an organization that represents 90% of the nation's non-profit academic medical centers including KU Hospital. It is a step up for her. If it wasn't, I assume she wouldn't have taken it. I assume you feel that this promotion was the work of Kansas City, Missouri's "big shots" to "rip off Kansas citizens" again?

If you had contstructive criticism, I think it would be much welcomed. If there is a way to handle things better, I think we'd all like to hear it. But if you're just upset about how things are going, and don't have any suggestions for how to make it better, then what's the point of complaining? We are lucky to have individuals and organizations who are collaborating to improve the world we live in. (I think most people would argue that this is the goal of these organizations from Stowers Institute to KU Med Center.)

Uhlrich says: "Regardless the complexity of the issue, one thing seems certain and that is that Kathleen Sebelius is hell bent on selling out the citizens of Kansas to her Missouri benefactors. Many thanks to Meadowlark for putting at least a partial price tag on Governor Roundheels' support."

Ed says: Okay, this makes so much sense. "Kathleen Sebelius is hell bent on selling out the citizens of Kansas to her Missouri benefactors" for a few thousand dollars of campaign money each year? Somehow, I wouldn't think this would be enough money for her to sell out Kansas."

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Check Meadowlark's numbers. The figures aren't just a couple of thousand dollars, the money (at least what we know of it) is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Secondly, the fact is that "most people" aren't arguing that this deal would "improve the world we live in", at least not here in Kansas.

Finally, oldgoof, you've read column after column of hard core data from an independent journalist who bleeds Jayhawk blue and publishes a newspaper in a town that is quite friendly to Sebelius. Yet he accuses her and the chancellor of his beloved KU of lying, an accusation not destined to bring KU favored treatment in the legislature. Indeed, based on the evidence, he has switched his own position from his very first columns on this issue, and yet you want to accuse others of ignoring the facts? Please, you should change your screen name to silly old goof if you think that pig will fly.

As for action steps, fire Hemenway, Atkinson, Atkins and Lariviere. None of these people have any credibility left. Legislatively restrict KUMC to ties within the state of Kansas unless the relevant Kansas medical associations and institutions are on board with an outside deal (right now all of those associations and institutions are not on board, even the ones Sebelius is trying to pack). Then initiate an independent federal investigation of the entire mess. After that, I think it's pretty clear that the Board of Regents needs to become an independent body, perhaps elected by congressional district.

It must also be said that the Democrat Party should cleanse itself of the carpetbagging Republicans Sebelius brought on board. It is now clear that they are "Democrats" in the same sense that they were "Republicans", i.e. they're just opportunists who are an embarrassment to the party and will bring it nothing in the long term except shame.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Oops, you guys down here call it the Democratic Party except on a lot of the blogs I see it called the Democrat Party. Up where I'm from it's called the DFL Party and over next door in North Dakota it's called the Democratic - NPL Party. In both states though the party is very influenced by common-sense rural and populist values. We know when a deal stinks and our political traditions are built on banding together to ward off out-of staters who come in to exploit our farmers and institutions. In North Dakota they even built their own state grain elevator to keep the out state bankers from stealing them blind. But, of course at home we also have a tradition of the governor representing the interests of our own state.

Anyway you call it, Sebelius has sold out both the state and the integrity of the party. Maybe you should get a few more farmers in the party down here.

JSpizias 10 years, 11 months ago

Oldgoof says:

"The issue is complex. Nor is the issue even remotely related to the UMKC issue."

I would suggest you discuss with some of the faculty of the UMKC School of Biological Science (SBS) whether they see a connection between what happened to their school and what is currently happening at KUMC. Their Dean, Marino Martinez, was apparently fired because some Stowers people, and perhaps other business and civic leaders, went to UMKC Chancellor Martha Gilliland and complained that he "wasn't cooperative" (some of the same players involved in the current affair at KUMC). Yet, SBS and KUMC faculty had been collaborating extensively for many years before Gilliland was made Chancellor. Martinez "crime" was that he wanted to treat affiliations and joint appointments in an academic manner and involve the faculty in any decisions instead of top-down dictates. After the faculty at UMKC saw what happened to SBS and in other schools they basically revolted and voted "no confidence" in Gilliland's leadership;. Gilliland "resigned", possibly in response to concerns of the new President of the UM system, Elson Floyd. The response of the business community and "civic leaders" to the removal of Gilliland was discussed in an article in the KC Business Journal ("Civic leaders ponder response to departure of UMKC chancellor"). Quotes from two of these civic leaders are below. Not surprisingly, Floyd, who appeared to be an excellent academic leader, decided to "get out of Dodge" and accepted a position elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Civic Council Chairwoman Betsey Solberg cast her attention on tenured faculty members who led the fight to get Gilliland out. She said businesspeople have difficulty understanding how employees can "create a revolution and unseat the leadership."

"It's a struggle because it seems so antiquated in today's world," she said. "My reaction to what I might characterize as a forced resignation was extreme disappointment," said Hugh Zimmer, CEO of Zimmer Cos. and chairman of the UMKC board of trustees for the first three years of Gilliland's tenure. "There is certainly a lack of confidence in the leadership of the system in Columbia on the part of many in the community."

The American Association of University Professors is the premier organization representing university faculty and dedicated to maintaining academic freedom and the role of the faculty in institutional governance. KU, and most leading academic institutions in the US, have accepted the principles outlined in the 1940 document, Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure . A special committee of the AAUP investigated the events occurring at Hahneman-Medical College of Pennsylvania and the committee report is available at:

KU_cynic 10 years, 11 months ago

I asked a senior colleague recently, "Is Bob Hemenway a complete idiot when it comes to public relations or is Dolph Simons a raving lunatic?"

"Right on both counts," he replied.

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

The difference between Bob and Dolph? Bob is well paid by Kansas taxpayers not to be a complete idiot and Dolph buys newsprint and bandwidth in bulk to point out what a complete idiot Bob is.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

To see what KUMC staff and faculty can expect from St. Lukes one need only look at the last disaster in which Atkinson was involved. Her school went into bankruptcy (of course that happens all the time with public institutions) . Here's a description of how her faculty were treated by the hospitals they partnered with.

"Morale among university faculty suffered under Allegheny's control, which entailed a top-down management style that was not responsive to the faculty's needs, says Faber. For example, 1 1/2 years before bankruptcy, researchers had trouble getting supplies because bills were not paid on time and vendors wouldn't deal with the university, Faber notes. "This was a typical problem, discussed routinely for two years with the Allegheny administration. Research, which is central to the reputation and life of a university, was treated as just another hospital financing issue," says Faber.

Allegheny management also imposed what faculty regarded as an unreasonably high overhead cost on the university, Faber notes. "We were promised more efficient systems which never turned out to be more efficient," he adds."

In addition, I don't know what the Stowers Institute started out to be, but every time I turn around I seem to see them involved in some controversial hanky panky. It would not be the first charity/foundation to be taken over by the sleaze element in KCMO and used for less than honorable purposes. Jspizias, do you have any knowledge as to what's happening with the Institute's leadership. Hockaday used to work for Hallmark, didn't he?

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago


You say you have so much you could tell us, but that it's just too much to write in a forum like this. Yet you write endless streams of vacuous posts that contain absolutely zero information. The only conclusion I can come to is that what you have to say is slanderous, or you would put it out here as Mr. Simons has done with his facts.

It also strikes me that you have a real axe to grind with KU Hospital and Irene Cummins and that not any concern for the health care of Kansans is what motivates your support of those who would damage the hospital and loot its programs.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

Okay Uhlrich, I'll summarize it for you...

2006 donations to Paul Morrison : $2800 2006 donations to Kathleen Sebelius: $5200

So your argument is that because of these donations, these two people have sold out all their other constituents and decided to hurt Kansas citizens?

And you want to fire Hemenway, Atkinson, Atkins and Lariviere, and the reasoning isn't performance based, it is simply because they lack credibility?

You would make sure KUMC can't collaborate with other institutions, even if it is beneficial for Kansas residents? What if you have a family member that has breast cancer, and there is a breakthrough at Harvard Medical Center, and they are looking for a partner to work with in the midwest, you are saying you would enforce legislation to make sure the two organizations don't collaborate if KU Hospital has an inferior program and doesn't like the competition? That sounds great for Kansas citizens.

You would initiate a federal investigation!!?! On a state funded organization? How does that work?

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago


I get the impression that Hemenway is a mediocre leader at best who's become a political hack in order to survive his own incompetence.

I was not a huge fan of Gene Budig, Hemenway's predecessor, but I think he was a truly competent leader.

As for Simon's, whatever his faults, he is a first rate journalist when he sets his mind on uncovering a story. Again, I think the paper is in a downward spiral owing to the new editor, but this series of columns has been first rate. This story doesn't even interest me outside of the journalistic content. Good journalism is just fun to read and discuss.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago


You've set up another series of straw men, just as you did to Dolph above.

  1. As Meadowlark pointed out in addition to the direct funds, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in indirect funds that were spent by other organizations on their behalf with money coming out of KCMO, Stowers, etc. and I would suspect that the stuff he has is really only the tip of the iceberg. Over in KCMO I seem to recall that Stowers spent something like 29 million dollars on the proposition on stem cell research. There is much more at stake here than the chump change you've described.

  2. The reasoning behind firing the folks I mentioned is indeed performance based. What is a vote of no confidence from a faculty if not a declaration concerning the credibility of the leader involved? As Mr. Simons pointed out, these people have damaged their credibility with the legislature and a major part of their jobs is getting along with the legislature. Indeed, in the case of Mr. Atkins, isn't his entire job pretty much based on his ability as a former senator to go back and stroke his former colleagues?

Leaders don't sweep halls, or change light bulbs, they communicate. And if their communications are perceived as deceitful, arrogant, or poorly thought out, their ability to conduct their jobs is greatly restricted.

  1. Another straw man, this time a silly one. There is a vast difference between referring a patient out to an expert in the field (the situation you describe) and an institutional affiliation in which entire programs at KU Hospital may be put at risk because of the proposed institutional arrangements supported by Sebelius (or probably more appropriately, her new found Republican pals).

As for the federal investigation, this is an interstate negotiation in which people are acting, as Mr. Simons points out, in very strange ways. Any investigation into these irregularities would intrinsically have to cross state lines and hence federal in nature. Even in this case of those laws which Mr, Simons alleges Sebelius has violated at the state level, does Republicrat Paul Morrison really need yet another albatross hanging around his neck with the accompanying allegations of favoritism as is the case with his (lack of) investigation and prosecution of benefactor, George Tiller (and indirectly, Stowers)

Part 2 to follow.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Finally, one of the things that gives Mr. Simons great credibility on this issue is that I've waited for someone to come along and just shred his factual content. Hasn't happened. Instead, all I see is ad hominem attacks on Speaker Neufeld, appeals to go along with "the thousands" and the kind of silly straw men you put up. I would love to see one sound argument that put his allegations to rest, if for no other reason than oldgoof is right, Governor Roundheels is going to veto the protective measures, and if Simons (and the medical associations, etc.) are all right, we're going to get royally (or at least gubernatorially) screwed right up the old healthcare system.

Incidentally, regarding the thousands. While I keep hearing about the handful of Johnson County legislators who support the affiliation, where are they? Who are they? If this is such a great deal, why aren't they crawling all over one another for the credit. This thing stinks, and no one wants to be near it when it explodes and the crap is flying (Sebelius probably thinks she'll be the VP by then.)

JSpizias 10 years, 11 months ago

The article below is from the KC Business Journal and describes the planned operation of a for profit corporation to market life science discoveries by "stakeholders" such as UMKC and KUMC.

At BioMed Valley Discoveries, plans call for granting 50 percent of commercialization revenue to the researcher and 50 percent to his or her institution.

"BioMed Valley Discoveries is determined to do a better job at discovery development than is normally done elsewhere," said Bill Neaves, CEO of the Stowers Institute. "Part of the evidence for that commitment is the fact that Dick Brown is currently working with a distinguished search committee to find someone who would bring extraordinary qualifications to a better way of doing what's commonly called tech transfer."

Brown, who declined to be interviewed, is listed as chairman of BioMed Valley Discoveries and CEO of a companion not-for-profit company, BioMed Valley Corp. But according to BioMed Valley Corp.'s 2004 filing for federal tax exemption, Brown's $1.2 million in salary and benefits were paid by the Stowers Institute for Resource Development Inc., which manages the research institute's $2 billion endowment.

Jim Stowers, who co-founded the research institute with his wife, Virginia, chartered the BioMed Valley corporations in 2001. But development of the corporations was slowed when the Internal Revenue Service questioned plans for the new entities.

To gain the IRS's blessing, the Stowers Institute is seeking a change in federal law. But Marie Jennings, a spokeswoman for the institute, said "resolution on the legislative issue ... is still probably several years away."

In the meantime, the Stowers Institute and the researchers it finances at other institutions may not cede rights to all of their future discoveries to BioMed Valley Discoveries. Instead, rights to each discovery must be transferred individually -- a process that will make it difficult to attract the kind of investment envisioned.

"If BioMed Valley Discoveries works really well," Neaves said, "it should become more valuable."

Thus, some stock in the company, which is wholly owned by BioMed Valley Corp., could be "sold at a greatly appreciated price to fund more research," he said.

In the meantime, limited relationships have been forged with UMKC and the University of Kansas Medical Center, where $2 million endowments from Virginia Stowers will help underwrite research to be commercialized through BioMed Valley Discoveries.

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

"What legal opinion or action/inaction does this group (Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, who gave $100,000+ for at least two mailings to get Paul Morrison elected Attorney General) need from Paul Morrison?" How about Missouri hospitals and universities located inside Kansas borders will be allowed to do stem cell research per Missouri's law?

It was the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures that pushed and passed "Amendment 2: The Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative." I doubt Kansans would pass a similar amendment and the Kansas Coalition of Lifesaving cures would like it if Morrison either ignore any problems or issue an opinion that Missouri's law applies. I find it hard to believe that these two organizations with nearly identical names and websites would have a different political agenda. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

One gets the feeling that the Stowers are genuinely fine folks whose endowment is being used in some very bad ways by some very shady people to elect even worse folks who they think will do things their way. In the process, The Stowers Institute is becoming a real Frankenstein of an organization. Truly sad, but unfortunately its happened to other foundations set up with lofty goals in mind. I have vague memories of the Ford Foundation that seemed to have been hijacked by a rather wierd bunch who started funding all sorts of strange projects, but I think it eventually was pulled back into shape.

I'm not sure of what all is being implied in JSpizias' comments above, but I have a feeling it's not a good thing. This is truly becoming a rabbit warren that obviously needs some oversight to keep from becoming a real monster.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

I tried to do a whois on the domain names of missouricures and kansascures, but I kept getting error messages.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago


You made 3 posts. The first one is just another silly ad hominem attack with no facts and no argument. The second one attributes comments to me that I never made and the third dodges the issue once again because the answer is allegedly too long for this forum.

You don't even know who you're talking to, or what you're reading and yet we're supposed to come sit at your feet so you can give us some long-winded sermon that space just doesn't permit here? No, the laws regarding libel are what I think is preventing you from making your arguments.

I still contend that the most powerful argument being made that this affiliation is a scam is the nature of the discourse of those who promote it. Lies, arrogance, insults and distortions, but never an honest answer that addresses any of the substantive points that either Mr. Simons, or anyone else has made concerning the project.

The corruption involved with this proposed affiliation is sickening. What kind of human garbage have we put in our governor's office and when will someone involved have the courage to stand up and blow the whistle on this bimbo?

JSpizias 10 years, 11 months ago

Old Goof: The University of Wisconsin and Purdue are among the leading research universities because of discoveries by their faculty such as Vitamin D production by irradiation (Steenbock), purification and identification of dicumarol (Karl Paul Link), and many others. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation or WARF (from whence came Warfarin) and Purdue Research Foundation have provided huge amounts of money for research support for university faculty leading to many new and valuable discoveries. However, I believe the current focus of universities on economic development is detrimental both to science and to universities. When recombinant DNA technology was in its infancy, researchers routinely "cloned by phone". When an interesting new gene was isolated a phone call was made to the investigator and within a few days the cloned DNA would arrive in the lab. Now universities are so concerned with intellectual property that a detailed intellectual property agreement must be worked out by university lawyers, a process that can take weeks or months. Moreover, there is a tendency for Universities to make broader and broader claims, such as for example the patent held by WARF that claims a right to all primate stem cells, and requires a license for their use. Benkler (Science 305, 1110-1112, 2004) has noted that:

"Empirical evidence suggests that patents are important in few industries, mostly pharmaceutical (2, 3), and that aggregate effects of strong protection are small and often negative (4, 5). Excessive patent protection has been criticized as impeding scientific research through "anticommons" effects (6) and as imposing cost barriers on access to medicines. Science has long been the quintessence of nonproprietary production (10). Academic freedom to choose one's goals and open distribution of the inputs and outputs of the scientific process are its organizational norms."

The University of Wisconsin currently holds a patent on any use of primate embryonic stem cells. Two public interest groups requested a review by the US Patent and Trademark Office of what they felt were overly broad patents. Constance Holden Science 316, 182 (2007) has reviewed the resulting ruling in a recent article in Science.

::"Every possible collaboration : is slowed considerably by having to negotiate the WARF Material Transfer Agreements," says George Daley of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He says if the same rules were applied to mouse cells, "our research would grind to a halt." Martin Pera of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles says that WARF's grip on "basic platform technology critical to the future development" of the field is bound to impede progress."

These are some of the reasons I believe that the current focus by Stowers and Universities, primarily on the economic aspects of research, are harmful to science, the university and citizens. It's not about science or cures-it's about money.

robertlewis 10 years, 11 months ago

oldgoof - you don't know what you're talking about - and the comments were not "one sided slander" they were the truth.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago


I agree that Universities (like KUMC, University of Wisconsin, or Purdue) and foundations (like Stowers Institute or others across the country) are terribly inefficient at bringing innovations to market. But you mentioned yourself some of the beneficial discoveries credited to these institutions. What better option is there? How would you change or improve what we already have? Privatizing isn't an option, since private industry tends not to conduct basic research.

I also agree that WARF shouldn't be allowed to hold a patent on stem cells. This is detrimental to innovation and without a doubt, their claim to the patent "impedes progress."

You also say, "These are some of the reasons I believe that the current focus by Stowers and Universities, primarily on the economic aspects of research, are harmful to science, the university and citizens. It's not about science or cures-it's about money."

I believe that most researchers, whether from Stowers, KUMC, or any University or foundation across the country would highly disagree with this statement. There is really no way to prove that these scientists are driven more by money OR science and cures, but I really think that if money was their main drive, they would have become a doctor, lawyer, or businessman. Many professions pay better than basic medical research. In fact, my understanding is that people working at KUMC in research are paid far less than they would make if they were working for private industry. So I really don't agree with your statement that Stowers is "not about science or cures," because that is exactly what the building of a few hundred people work on everyday.

I do appreciate your knowledgable and logical discussion about this issue. It is so much better than listening to Uhlrick's meaningless emotinal retorts.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

It is very interesting that OldGoof mentions this: "Most would argue that states (and their institutions like UMKC and KUMC) should specifically take an interest in, and manage IP assests for the benefit of their state."

I believe this was California's plan with Prop. 71.

As you say, this issue alone, as well as many of the other issues are so complex as to require lengthy debate. It is unfortunate that nobody takes you up on this, but from reading the posts by Uhlrick and Robert Lewis, I would say that their opinions are backed by emotion and not logic. It would probably be a pretty painful and pointless debate.

Personally, I believe states should not own IP assets, because states should remain neutral and able to defend the innocent. If states owned IP, it could present a potential conflict of interest.

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Simons is returning to fine form. A good old-fashioned paranoid rant about big-wig politicos and intellectuals trying to bilk the good folks of Kansas. Trouble is, Mr. Simons never articulates what the conspirators are after. Why is there this conspiracy? Could it be that it is a conspiracy to improve KUMC and kansas medical treatment? That would be horrible.

No one, not Mr. Simons or the other posters on this forum, have explained why this would be bad for KUMC and Kansas other than using paranoid mouth foamings about "MISSOURIANS" and nefarious big-wigs.

When your knees quit jerking, maybe you will see that it is possible that these folks are trying to improve things at KUMC.

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

I have really enjoyed this discussion of IP ownership of diseases, cures, genetics, basic research, and private industry. Who owns or can own my genes; are they exclusively mine; and what about derivative works are really interesting and important questions.

However, the main thrust of Dolph's columns has not touched on these issues. They have been about the potential sale of State of Kansas assets, to whom, for how much, why, and what the ultimate benefit to the citizens of Kansas is, if any. More importantly, if this is such a great deal, why have proponents employed certain tactics ("phony arguments", high pressure politics, shifting stories, etc.) when advocating for the sale. Does Gov. Kathy and Chancellor Bob really know and understand the implications of what they are doing? Or is there something not fully disclosed that would put the transaction in a much less favorable light making such tactics necessary. Given the very high stakes here, many people are suspicious of the stated rationale for the sale and wonder if there isn't an ulterior motive(s) of the proponents that hasn't yet come to light.

I don't think the opponents of the sale can be blamed if they begin to connect the dots and the public doesn't like the picture that is being drawn for them. The burden is now, and always has been, on the proponents to draw the citizens of Kansas a more coherent and compelling picture in support of the sale, if they can.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

The leadership of the hospital is clearly head and shoulders above the leadership of the med center and Hemenway has been a loser ever since he walked in the door.

What's interesting to me is that some of the WYCO legislators are beginning to figure this deal out and are realizing what it's going to do to their taxes to have 100 million dollars of indigent care dumped back in their laps because of this deal, or is Sebelius just planning on dumping those folks out onto the street? Yes indeedy, Sebelius' Republicrat solution to health care for the poor and downtrodden of Wyandotte County - death.

Some of the opposition to this is also in western Kansas. I would have to go back and re-read Mr. Simons' columns to fully grasp what their concern is, but from what I hear, it's not breaking down into the straight line party split Sebelius had hoped for, particularly with the latest bill to protect the hospital coming from fellow Democrat Tom Burroughs. Tom is well thought of in the Wyandotte County delegation and I think statewide. This is getting politically more costly all the time.

JSpizias 10 years, 11 months ago


It is the administrators, businessmen, and politicians (Hemenway, Atkinson, Neaves, Stowers, Sebelius, and others) who set research policy, whether research institute or university. What do you think all the hoopla about "life science research" in KC is about? Its about money and economic development-not science. And in my experience, the concern is primarily on the number of grant dollars brought in and not on the quality of the research or its possible impact on science or health. If you are familiar with the 2005 Nobel Prize given Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren for work on Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastric ulcers you know that this was low budget research. The investigators reportedly used themselves as guinea pigs for some of the studies. I seriously doubt if they could pursue such a project on most university campuses today. The bean counters have their rules: X grant dollars are required to justify Y square feet of lab space. In my view, the faculty of universities have been increasingly marginallzed and currently have very little say in governance of universities or establishment of policy. It is not the focus of the faculty I am questioning, it is the leadership. I agree totally with your statement that most scientists didn't go into science to make money. But like it or not that is how science has come to be viewed by those making policy: an engine for economic development. And I believe this focus is not healthy for science, society, or the university.

LJD230 10 years, 11 months ago

Some of you may be interested in reading Pam Belluck's article in the current edition of the New York Times re: the Massachusetts initiative to provide 1.25 billion in support of it's preeminent position in stem cell and life science research.

It is hard to imagine politicans in Kansas taking a similar position.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

Right, LJD230, this is not about making KUMC a national cancer center, it is about stem cell research.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

,,,...not just stem cell research, but embryonic stem cell research.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

Stowers and the Halls have directed millions of dollars to be spent a propaganda and lobbying campaign to convince the public and legislators that taxpayers should fund embryonic stem cell research, for the good of man kind.

Assuming that they are right, that the manipulation of embryonic stem cells hold the key to the end of disease, I hope they feel guilty for the time, and lives, they have caused to be lost while they wasted millions, if not bilions of dollars, on propaganda. Imagine the gains that could have been made if they had simply directed all those millions toward private research, instead.

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

Ulhrick says: "yet we're supposed to come sit at your feet" . No Ulhrick, I just want you to be quiet, listen, and then converse to something that might actually constitute knowledge and understanding you just might not have. I am continually amazed how scared you are at the tiniest bit of knowledge and information. And how the word 'corruption' seems to be your favorite word. I guess it is just so much fun to flame people here at length instead of learning. It is your selected style. You have shown me through your posts here that when I see your posts on other issues, my ad hominem analysis will indeed kick in, since I am suspicious you are incapable of actually having an intelligent discussion.

Godot: Embryonic stem research may not be technology which cures all diseases of mankind, but it decidely is not the moral scourge you and friends with your supposed "pro-life" views have spent so much time and energy to denounce. I hope you feel guilty for the time and lives that you and yours have caused to be lost while you and yours wasted millions, if not billions of dollars, on propaganda.. ." I watched the ads in Missouri. I didn't see any lack of spending for propaganda expressing your views......I won't get into the analysis of the ads.

To everyone: This KUMC-Hospital issue is not about stem cell research, although some you have accused (Stowers, KC Civic Council, etc) as being responsible "behind the scenes" do want to enhance and promote world-class medical research in Kansas City and environs, and stem cell research, (as well as a strong Medical School) is generally important for them, for obvious reasons, since the world is going there, with or without Kansas and Missouri.

It is more about a Hospital Authority, which was created in part to support increased investments in medical education and research, which then through its actions over a period of years increasingly sought to dominate and control, not benefit, the medical education and research mission of the Medical School. It is that simple.

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

JSpizias writes: "But like it or not that is how science has come to be viewed by those making policy: an engine for economic development. And I believe this focus is not healthy for science, society, or the university." . The topic of the relationship between basic research, and more applied research, and the role of each in the university, is a good one worthy topic of a long debate. But Spizias, much funded research IS NOT for economic development, as you know. "Those making policy" have to include the NSF.
. On the other hand, since the 1970's the federal government struggled to look for ways to take knowledge discovered in universities with federal dollars, and make this knowledge accessible to benefit society. That too has to be something which in some appropriate manner should be encouraged, while at the same time protecting the intellectual freedom of research necessary at Universities. The Bayh-Dole Act comes to mind.

In fact if your concern is that people do not sufficiently appreciate the role of basic research, I do not understand why you do not hold the Stowers institute in higher regard. As you know, the federal government has always been the primary basic research engine. It is my understanding that a great deal of Stowers research will also be basic...but basic with a thrust of developing basic knowledge in the cancer/biological areas. So they are enhancing basic research...which if I remember correctly, neither KU nor UMKC directly does in any significant way from state sources.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

As for Ed, I understand why the Missouri folks want this deal to go through. For them it's a winner. And, incidentally, I've seen people sort of downgrade St. Luke's on here, but from everything I've ever heard, it's a very good hospital and it's unfortunate that this controversy has drug it's good name through the mud along with the scoundrels.

That said, this is not a win-win game, and I prefer, as a citizen of Kansas, that Kansas and our healthcare system come out on the winning end of this debate.

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

Oldgoof, I do not think stem cell research is all that controversial. Embryonic stem cell research is a different story both nationally and locally. The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures was instrumental in passing Missouri's Amendment 2: The Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. If I recall correctly, there was a great deal of debate on what that law allowed and what it banned. I believe that the proponents believe that it allows tax dollars to be spent on embryonic stem cell research. I don't think Kansas allows or plans to allow tax dollars to be spent on embryonic stem cell research.

One way to view the current proposal is as allowing Kansas assets to participate in taxpayer funded embryonic stem cell research. If this is the primary yet unstated motivation for this sale then Gov Kathy, Chancellor Bob, and the other proponents should simply make their case to the citizens of Kansas and let the debate begin. So far their actions and behavior has simply raised suspicion and encouraged speculation (like my speculation, for instance) on what the heck is going on.

bllrubydog 10 years, 11 months ago

Oldgoof says "It is more about a Hospital Authority, which was created in part to support increased investments in medical education and research, which then through its actions over a period of years increasingly sought to dominate and control, not benefit, the medical education and research mission of the Medical School. It is that simple."

What is oldgoof basing his statements on? Is he an insider that feels wronged or is there more to this story that hasn't come out. Is it true that hospital support to the medical school has signficantly outpaced hospital revenue growth? Is it true that the Hospital patient satisfaction is now the best in the Metro area? How has the Hospital perfomed on its committment to the indigent population? Didn't recent reports show them second to only Truman? Are the facilities available for Kansas resident healing and research not much better? Wasn't the Hospital virtually bankrupt under Medical School leadership? Maybe the Hospital had it right for the last decade while they reinvented themselves and the Medical School was asleep at the wheel and just couldn't enact the necessary cultural, business and other changes to reinvent the School. Maybe if Ms. Cummings was in charge of the School, things would be much better.

I understand a lot of goofs thoughts, but I don't see how he connects the dots regarding domination and control...sounds like sour grapes....

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

bllrubydog: Oldgoof hangs around these forums and posts on lots of issue. He isn't a one-issue poster like you and Hetfield. All the great indicia bllrubydog posts are wonderful, but have little to do with improving support for the university. Oldgoof remembers it was the university that fought for two years to create the very entity (the Hospital Authority) that everyone is now patting on the back. He stands by his statement that the overarching objective of improving instructional and research support for the KU School of Medicine, which was one of the principal goals of the change of structure, has been ignored or perhaps subverted by the hospital over the years. Goof believes the hospital exists in current form and size to serve its patients and the medical education mission of the university. Not vice versa.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

oldgoof have no facts only ad hominem. oldgoof have axe to grind. oldgoof silly and ignorant, not understand debate or issues involved.

I guess you're write, some ad hominem does make sense.

So are we all agreed, Sebelius appears to be a crook who has sold out the Kansas health care system and screwed thousands of poor people out of medical treatment? Too bad Don Imus isn't on the air anymore, I think he would have something to say about Governor Roundheels.

oldgoof 10 years, 11 months ago

Oldgoof is not suprised Uhlrick turns to Imus for one of his sources. Sounds about right.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago


For once you may be right. Perhaps I should have said Snoop Dogg, who claims to be able to tell who the real hos are. If that's true, I think Sebelius and this deal would be the stuff of a tune on his next CD, or to paraphrase one of the other rappers, Governor Roundheels be concubining for the folks in Missouri.

Say did you notice, I think I commented on something else today that was vaguely political, maybe not. You normally have to look for my comments under sports, I'm not much for politics, but this is such an obvious scam that I couldn't resist.

bllrubydog 10 years, 11 months ago

Old goof, I follow this issue because my mother was treated for cancer at the hospital. She was hospitalized and ultimately passed at the hospital, but the care and compassion at the hospital made a lasting impact to me and I am a regular donor of the hospital. I am relatively young, have a family and a active professional life, so I dont post on any issues other than this. You discount me for this? How absurd. Quantity of comments does not mean anything, except perhaps you are a bitter lonely man without no cause and like to stroke your ego by beating up on people like me..

I don't understand why you speak with venom regarding how the medical center spent two years to split off the hospital. You should be proud of this. Without this effort, the hospital would have been sold or bankrupt by now, but surely not the shining star it is. As far as support, coming out of bankruptcy, the hospital could not afford much, but has steadily increased support. Didn't the hospital offer something like 500 million of support, which the school rejected? What is the hospital to do after this offer was rejected?

I guess you like to beat up on the casual posters so that you can dominate with your mean spirit. I think you suffer from a false sense of intellectual superiority, simply because your life is centered around your keyboard.

Even after your certain impending attack regarding how I am a clueless one-poster, I will no longer allow you the jolly of responding to a rebuttal from me.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Beware oldgoof. While his posts present virtually no factual information he has now attempted to entice at least two posters to this thread to contact him personally, and even meet with him on the grounds that he will share all of the knowledge that he has neglected to post here. That is highly unusual for an anonymous blog and should be treated with the utmost suspicion and concern.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

I am surprised how emotional these bulletin boards get. It is disappointing that a logical and meaningful debate has diverged into childish belittlements.

IF KUMC wasn't right on the state line, this whole issue would be a moot point. Because KUMC is on the state line, and because KUMC chose the closest hospital to collaborate with, and because this hospital is the second largest in the city (behind KU Hospital), and because this hospital happens to be in Missouri, there is a drive for the media to muckrake this issue.

I still don't buy the idea that people on Missouri are trying to take Kansan's money. What is the specific area where Kansans are going to lose money, and Missourians are going to make money? The ONLY argument I can think of is that Kansas residents will go to St. Luke's hospital, which some probably do. But most people go to the hospital closest to their house. After all, nobody wants to drive a long way to see their regular doctor. If the specialty you need is not located in the hospital closest to you, your doctor typically recommends another nearby hospital which offers the service you are looking for. This is how consumers are. This won't change.

And if a consumer goes to St. Luke's instead of KU Hospital, I'd assume they made that decision because St. Luke's was better at the specialty than KU Hospital. Giving the Kansas consumer this choice is better, not worse for Kansans.

ed 10 years, 11 months ago

I also believe it is wrong for the state to own a for-profit organization. For the state to own a for-profit organization is basically nationalism; and, as most socialist countries proved, state owned for-profit organizations fail in the long run. The profit should be forced back into improvement of the organization, or the orginization should be required to lower their prices for the good of their customers, Kansas citizens. Aren't most universities and public owned institutions required to be non-profit?

I haven't completely thought this through, and I assume there are many holes in this argument, but I think in theory, it is a good idea.

bllrubydog 10 years, 11 months ago

I apologize...I was out of line and apologize to Oldgoof, although I don't honestly think he gives much creedence to a rookie like me.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 11 months ago

Ed, some good points. As I understand the argument, KU Hospital is a conglomeration of programs that are highly profitable, and other programs, care for the indigent, etc., that must be subsidized.

When Irene Cummins took over the hospital (I believe from the med school) it was virtually bankrupt and she transformed it into a very profitable institution.

By the same token, there are those who are claiming that Atkinson may have almost bankrupted the med school, a concern that is all the more urgent owing to the fact that her previous employer also went bankrupt (what her role in that bankruptcy remains undefined at this point. However, there appear to be great similarities between the two situations.

Given those facts, there are legitimate concerns that by sending the residents and programs for the most profitable centers over to Missouri only those portions needing to be subsidized will remain, In essence, Missouri gets the profits and the taxpayers of Kansas are left holding the bag.

Additionally, I can't imagine that the various medical associations in Kansas would be so opposed to this deal if it were based solely on parochial concerns, so I think there's a lot here that we're not privy to all the way around. That leaves us, perhaps rightly so to a certain extent with some ad hominem concerns. For oldgoof, it was originally Neufeld and Wagle. OK, but since then, it's just everyone who disagrees with the project including to folks like Tom Burroughs, a member of the governor's party and a man of moderate views.

For my part, I also see much the same. This seems to be motivated by the sleaziest elements in the Republican Party and those who have switched parties (I think quite arguably motivated by personal ambition and opportunism) to allegedly join with Sebelius. The benefits also all seem to accrue to the very folks who have been bankrolling Sebelius, Parkinson and Morrison and as Simons correctly points out, the lies and arrogance, if not illegal acts abound.

This is not an emotional issue for me. I don't plan on using KU Hospital, or St. Lukes, but it makes me very angry that our Kansas governor has clearly sold us out and betrayed the citizens of Kansas to her out-of-state benefactors. That much seems very, very clear given all of Mr. Simons columns (and blogs aside, I think these columns more than speak for themselves).

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

Gov. Kathy has just made it clear she won't allow legislative review by elected representatives, we all just need to be more trusting I guess. I wonder if anyone will pay a political price for this fiasco.

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