Without new owner, Kansas hospital to close this summer

Denver-based SCL Health will cease operating St. Francis Health in Topeka, Kan., this summer. If a new owner isn't found, the hospital will close.

While SCL Health is still exploring options to keep the hospital open, the system will stop operating St. Francis this summer regardless of whether another owner or operator is found.

"Multiple options were considered over the last two years to avoid closing the hospital and are still being explored now," said SCL in a statement issued April 18. The system is eager to discuss any alternatives that can be accomplished swiftly and is willing to donate St. Francis to another organization that can take over operations."

SCL Health President and CEO Mike Slubowski said he hopes to have more information about the hospital's future in the first week of May.

There are several factors contributing to St. Francis' financial troubles, including dwindling patient volume, reimbursement pressure and operating in a state that did not expand Medicaid under the ACA.

"St. Francis Health is not sustainable in today's dramatically changing healthcare environment," said Mr. Slubowski.

He noted the hospital has lost $117 million over the last five years, and its uncompensated and charity care costs more than doubled between 2012 and 2016.

SCL said it will provide St. Francis employees with job placement and resume writing services, and, ultimately, severance or the opportunity to explore other employment options with SCL.

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