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Brownback: 'No reason' St. Francis hospital should close


Saying there is at least one, and possibly more companies negotiating to buy the troubled St. Francis Health Center in Topeka, Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday there is "no reason" that hospital should close later this year.

"We now have a buyer — at least one, we think there may be more options come forward as well, so there really should be no reason that St. Francis closes," Brownback said. "We have a legitimate buyer. It's a known entity that is financially capable of doing this. That may not be the one that (its parent company SCL Health) picks, but we have one, so there really should be no reason for St. Francis to close."

Gov. Sam Brownback talks with reporters in the Statehouse, saying he is confident St. Francis Health Center in Topeka will not be forced to close.

Gov. Sam Brownback talks with reporters in the Statehouse, saying he is confident St. Francis Health Center in Topeka will not be forced to close. by Peter Hancock

He was referring to California-based Prime Healthcare Foundation, which announced over the weekend that it was interested in acquiring St. Francis, although no agreement has been reached. The company owns and operates 14 community-based nonprofit hospitals around the country.

St. Francis is a 378-bed hospital that employs roughly 1,600 people in Topeka. Its owners have been searching for a buyer since last summer, and last week they said regardless of whether they find one, they will not continue operating the hospital beyond this summer.

SCL Health said it would wait two weeks, until May 2, to line up a buyer before it would announce plans for a shutdown.

Closure of the hospital would not only have a big impact on the local Topeka economy and the regional health care market, but it would also have political implications in the debate at the Kansas Legislature over Medicaid expansion. SCL Health officials have cited the state's refusal to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act as one of the factors contributing to the hospital's financial problems.

In March, Brownback vetoed a bill that would have expanded the Kansas Medicaid program, known as KanCare, to extend coverage to an estimated 155,000 additional people. An effort to override that veto narrowly failed in the House on April 3.

Brownback said Wednesday that he had met recently with officials from Prime Healthcare, the only company that has publicly expressed an interest in acquiring St. Francis. But he said other potential buyers have asked for more information about the hospital as they weigh whether to make a proposal.

"I talked with (SCL Health CEO) Mike Slubowski twice this week about this, about getting offers. They're the ones that have to sort through them," Brownback said. But at this point in time, we have a buyer. There are negotiations going on with them and others, so I don't know who they're going to pick, but there really should be no reason that St. Francis closes."


Michael Kort 1 year ago

This is a link to Prime Healthcares fact sheet ( as in ......they .......describing themselves ) .


Read and you will notice that they are both..... a for profit hospital company...... and a non profit hospital company thru their foundation......and I suppose that is perfectly legitimate .

On the end of this sheet it says that the foundation side of the business ( Prime Healthcare Foundation ) has received most of their hospitals as donations .

So, just to be clear, are we reading a news report on a $ transaction with the "for profit Prime Healthcare" or the "non profit foundation version" of Prime Healthcare ?

It sounds like, that either way, that Prime Healthcare, wether as a for or non profit system, has the ability to turn a hospital around, which is a good thing .

Michael Kort 1 year ago

SCL previously owned St. Joseph and St. Marys Hospitals in South KCMO and Providence Hospital in KCK which I believe are now run by Prime Healthcare as for profit (?) Hospitals .

Phillip Chappuie 12 months ago

And there is NO REASON Brownback did not allow the expansion of medicaid. All of his arguments were nothing but red herrings without basis. But we are dealing with a guy who still believes in Arthur Laugher economics, thus is an idiot.

Sam Crow 12 months ago

There are many valid reasons for not expanding Medicaid in Kansas.

Lawrence Liberals just wont accept them.

Sam Crow 12 months ago

Kort you keep making this stuff up to match your beliefs.

St Joseph Hospital of KCMO and St Mary of Lees Summit (known as Carondelet Health) were owned by Ascension Health Systems. It is a very large Catholic Order based in St Louis, with well over 100 hospitals in many states. Carondelet/Ascension wanted out of the KC market and sold to HCA. Regulators denied the sale as it would give too much share in the area to HCA. The sale to Prime followed.

Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth owned Providence Hospital (formally Providence-St Margaret) in KCK along with St Johns in Leavenworth. SCL used to be based at University of St Mary, in Leavenworth. After its move to Denver, the sale of the hospitals to Prime occurred.

There is nothing evil about the corporate set up of Prime. It can be compared to Kaiser Permanente of Oakland CA, which consists of many both profit and not for profit organizations, including the Kaiser Health Foundation which is frequently quoted as health policy experts. It is the largest managed care organization in the country.

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