KANSAS CITY Mo.
Leaders of the St. Luke’s Hospital system on Friday voted to approve in principle a proposed affiliation with the University of Kansas Medical Center.
The vote by the St. Luke’s Hospital Board of Directors and the St. Luke’s Health System Board of Directors offered support for the affiliation, but the 10-year agreement will not be final until it is officially approved and signed by several entities.
“Our board’s show of support underscores our goal all along of improving the quality of care for patients in Kansas City and the surrounding region,” G. Richard Hastings, president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health System, said in a news release. “We’re excited about the opportunity to work with KU Medical Center for enriched medical education and life science research that benefits patients in both Kansas and Missouri.”
The proposed affiliation has sparked controversy, especially in Kansas, where some lawmakers and other officials are concerned it could hurt the University of Kansas Hospital. That hospital is the primary teaching hospital of the university’s medical school, and the hospital and the medical center share a campus in Kansas City, Kan.
Under a draft agreement outlined last week at the University of Kansas Hospital’s board meeting, St. Luke’s would pay a fee to be allowed to call its hospital in midtown Kansas City a research and teaching arm of the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Supporters of the affiliation say it will vastly improve the Kansas City area’s efforts to become an important player in biosciences research and attract a national cancer institute.
But University of Kansas Hospital officials are concerned the affiliation could hurt their hospital financially. Other opponents, including some Kansas legislators, say the deal might entice doctors to leave Kansas to work at St. Luke’s institutions in Missouri.
The proposed affiliation also must be approved by the University of Kansas Medical Center’s top administrator, Barbara Atkinson, University of Kansas Chancellor Bob Hemenway and the Kansas Board of Regents.
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