Coalition forms to prevent another hospital closure in Kansas

Several Kansas hospitals, the Kansas Health Foundation and the Kansas Hospital Association have teamed up to push for Medicaid expansion in the state, according to a KWCH report.

The push for Medicaid expansion by the hospitals comes just a few weeks after Chesterfield, Mo.-based Mercy health system announced it plans to close Mercy Hospital Indepence (Kan.) in October. Mercy Hospital Independence isn't the only facility in the state under significant financial stress, as many other hospitals, including Anthony (Kan.) Medical Center and Harper (Kan.) Hospital, are also losing money.

To prevent additional hospital closures in the state, Witchita, Kan.-based Via Christi Health and other hospitals are urging Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to expand Medicaid.

"Our financial pressures have been intensified because of the refusal of Gov. Sam Brownback and the state legislature to approve expanding the KanCare Medicaid insurance program for the poor and vulnerable," said Via Christi officials in a news release.

A Kansas Department of Health and Environment survey found that Via Christi is losing $14 million in annual revenue due to the state's decision not to expand its Medicaid program, according to the report. Mercy Indepence Hospital is losing approximately $1.4 million in annual revneue due to the state not expanding Medicaid.

Wesley Healthcare in Wichita, Kan., has also joined the coalition pushing for Medicaid expansion. The system's CFO, Matt Leary, told KWCH the lack of Medicaid expansion in Kansas has had "a measurable financial impact on Wesley Healthcare."

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