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Archive for Friday, March 7, 2008

Medical center, KU hospital sign agreement

March 7, 2008

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For all the time and energy put into crafting an affiliation between Kansas University Hospital and KU Medical Center, final approval came so quietly it almost escaped notice.

Dennis McCulloch, KU Hospital spokesman, said sometime last weekend the five-year affiliation was signed by KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, KU Hospital CEO Bob Page and KU Physicians Inc. President Kirk Benson. With that, the yearlong struggle to reach an agreement that is amenable to all parties was finally and officially over.

The broad structure and key points of the agreement were announced in December, with the three leaders assigned the task of finalizing the document.

"There were no substantive changes," McCulloch said. "There was never any problem. With the crunch of business and the holidays, it just now was done."

The master affiliation governs the details of the relationship between the hospital and medical center, which share a campus in Kansas City, Kan. Under the agreement, KU Hospital will contribute about $15 million more per year to the medical center and also hire more medical residents.

KUPI earned more autonomy from the medical center and greater integration with the hospital, while the medical center will receive more money, have more students and was also able to affiliate with St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

The affiliation with St. Luke's caused some of the greatest delays in the affiliation process and sparked legislative interest as well. The affiliation also contains provisions and regulations for how the hospital and medical center will share use of the KU Cancer Center brand.

In December, when the affiliation structure was approved, KUMC Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Atkinson said the new agreement would set the stage for KU being recognized as a National Cancer Institute.

"We needed to be working together to do that," she said. "We needed to be able to have affiliations with other hospitals in order to achieve that goal."

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