Archive for Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hospital board OKs $1 million to fund KU Cancer Center

January 14, 2014

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Kansas University Hospital Authority’s board of directors approved $1 million to fund the KU Cancer Center on Tuesday.

The board also adopted procedures for a possible hearing over a disputed labor contract with nurses.

The Cancer Center funding comes as part of an ongoing agreement between the hospital, over which the state has some oversight but which is established as a self-sustaining and largely independent nonprofit organization, and the KU Medical Center, a university division with state funding and control.

Altogether the hospital contributes $2.5 million annually to the center for administration and research costs, while the university pays salaries of faculty, who also work as hospital employees, said Dennis McCulloch, director of public and government relations for the hospital.

Discussion of funding details and the vote itself were held in a closed executive session.

The board also adopted procedures on a hearing, should one occur, over a contract with hospital nurses.

According to previous news reports, in November the Kansas University Nurses Association, a union affiliated with the AFL-CIO, rejected a contract offered by hospital executives because it cut pay for those nurses who committed to working nights and weekends.

The union represents about 1,400 nurses at the hospital, though only 400 pay dues and have voting privileges, McCulloch said.

Following the spurned contract, the hospital and the union jointly filed an impasse. After mediation failed to resolve the dispute, the hospital and union picked a “fact finder” who will review information related to the case in the coming weeks.

If negotiations during this phase fail, the hospital board will hold a hearing, tentatively scheduled for March 11, to listen to each side of the issue and make a final decision on the contract.

The rules for the hearing, which outline procedures for voting and presentation of information, were discussed in executive session, but McCulloch said they follow closely similar rules set by the Kansas Public Employees Relations Board.

Other items at Tuesday’s meeting included:

• The board approved the credentials of 103 new physicians added to staff since the previous meeting.

• The board honored Terry and Peggy Dunn for helping to raise $963,000 during the hospital’s “Treads and Threads” fundraiser.

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