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Archive for Friday, October 19, 2007

Affiliation decision almost went unnoticed

October 19, 2007

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— Though the effort to reach an affiliation between Kansas University Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital took nearly a year, the resolution came almost without anyone noticing.

Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway told KU Hospital Chief Executive Officer Bob Page on Monday that the university was prepared to give the Board of Regents on Thursday a final briefing and opportunity to approve the affiliation between KUMC and St. Luke's. The agenda for the regents meeting came out last Wednesday, one week before the first scheduled day of the meeting, and the affiliation issue wasn't included.

"We reached the agreement within the past seven to 10 days," Hemenway said Thursday.

First public notice that the regents would consider the controversial affiliation came in the form of an e-mail media alert at 9 a.m. Thursday. The board was discussing the affiliation by 10 a.m.

The Kansas Open Meetings Act requires public notice be given in advance of any meeting, but it does not require notice of what will be discussed. It does say that an agenda must be provided to the public if one is created, but nothing is to stop the governing body from changing the agenda as it conducts its business.

Regents chairwoman Christine Downey-Schmidt said she first learned that an agreement was close when she returned from a meeting in Colorado this week, but she did not attempt to add the matter to the agenda then.

Board of Regents spokesman Kip Peterson said the board decided to add the KUMC-St. Luke's affiliation to Thursday's agenda Wednesday night.

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