University of Kansas Health System, Ardent announce joint ventur - KCTV5

University of Kansas Health System, Ardent announce joint venture to acquire St. Francis in Topeka

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St. Francis Health Center in Topeka, Kansas. (WIBW) St. Francis Health Center in Topeka, Kansas. (WIBW)

On Thursday, the University of Kansas Health System and Ardent Health Services announced plans to form a joint venture company to purchase St. Francis Health in Topeka, Kansas.

The announcement follows SCL Health’s selection of the joint venture to acquire the 378-bed facility. SCL Health owns St. Francis. 

The partnership will allow St. Francis Health to remain open. It will also allow almost all of St. Francis’ 1,600 employees to keep their jobs, including employed physicians. The hospital will continue to be led by local management. 

The partnership is expected to provide the hospital with a $50 million infusion of capital during the first year. 

“We are grateful our proposal was seen as the most positive path forward for St. Francis,” said Bob Page, president and CEO of The University of Kansas Health System. “We are proud to tell the people of Topeka St. Francis Health’s doors will remain open. We understand the critical role hospitals like St. Francis Health play for patients, physicians, employees and the communities they serve. By marrying our resources as an academic medical center and Ardent’s operational expertise, we secure the long-term sustainability of St. Francis Health.” 

“We are honored to partner with The University of Kansas Health System to support the excellent work of St. Francis Health’ dedicated physicians, nurses and employees,” said David T. Vandewater, president and CEO of Ardent Health Services. “Our successful joint venture model will preserve local leadership while providing St. Francis Health with the resources, support and investment needed to maintain and grow the hospital.”

SCL Health had said it couldn't afford to keep the hospital open, saying that St. Francis lost $117 million over the past five years. They had said they would close the hospital this summer, if a new investor was not found.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. CBS-affiliate WIBW contributed to this report.

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