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Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Banker named to hospital authority

October 9, 2007

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday appointed Johnson County banker Robert "Bob" Regnier to the board of the Kansas University Hospital Authority.

And Sebelius said she wants to work quickly with hospital leaders to fill seven more positions on the board, which has been the focus of recent scrutiny.

Regnier, of Leawood, will replace Eric Jager, whose term expired.

Regnier is president and chief executive officer of the Bank of Blue Valley.

He has long been a business and community leader in Johnson County, serving as a member of the KU Edwards Campus board of advisers, the Johnson County Community College Foundation Board, and the Greater Kansas City Johnson County Leadership Council.

"Robert's strong ties to his community and experience in managing large organizations will be strong assets to this board," Sebelius said.

His appointment to the four-year term is subject to Senate confirmation.

Control and makeup of the board, which governs KU Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., has been an issue in the fierce battle between top KU officials and KU Hospital leaders.

Sebelius and KU leaders want the KU Medical Center, which is partnered with KU Hospital, to form a research and education affiliation with St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., saying the arrangement will increase life sciences research in the area and help KU attain national status as a cancer treatment center.

But KU Hospital has said a medical school-St. Luke's affiliation could hurt KU Hospital and have no effect on attaining national cancer center designation.

In May, KU Provost Richard Lariviere stepped off the hospital board after a legal opinion by Attorney General Paul Morrison said he could not legally serve on the panel as an ex officio voting member.

The hospital authority is governed by a 19-member board of directors. Thirteen represent the public and are appointed by the governor. The remaining six are ex officio voting members, meaning they are members by virtue of their office.

After Morrison's opinion, Republican and Democratic leaders in the Kansas Senate urged Sebelius to "start over" in picking nominees to serve on the board.

The governor selects board members from a slate provided by hospital board officials.

In a letter to George Farha, chairman of the KU Hospital board, Sebelius said, "I look forward to receiving additional slates as quickly as possible."

Sebelius had earlier sought to put Regnier on the board but her office said she put a hold on appointments to the board until the process could be cleared up.

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