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Kansas hospital on brink of closure draws interest from buyers

St. Francis Health in Topeka, Kan., will likely avoid closure this summer as multiple health systems have shown interest in acquiring the facility.  

Earlier this month, Denver-based SCL Health said it would cease operating St. Francis Health this summer regardless of whether another owner or operator is found. SCL Health President and CEO Mike Slubowski said the hospital, which has lost $117 million over the last five years, isn't sustainable in today's healthcare environment.

Following the news that St. Francis would close without a new owner, Prime Healthcare Foundation, the Ontario, Calif.-based nonprofit arm of Prime Healthcare Services, disclosed in an April 20 letter to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback that it wanted to acquire the hospital. "With sound management focusing on quality patient care, St. Francis can be a flagship hospital for Prime Healthcare and a cornerstone in the Topeka community," Prime Healthcare's general counsel Troy A. Schell told Becker's Hospital Review.

On Thursday, another system indicated it is interested in rescuing St. Francis from closure. In a letter to Mr. Slubowski, Kansas City-based University of Kansas Health System President and CEO Bob Page said the system has a proposal in the works to acquire St. Francis, according to the Kansas City Star.

As Mr. Page outlined in the letter, KU Health would partner with Nashville, Tenn.-based Ardent Health Services to operate St. Francis, according to the report.

"We understand how to work with doctors, nurses and caregivers to provide quality care, while also providing access to the extraordinary resources of a nationally renowned academic medical center," Mr. Page wrote. "In addition, Ardent Health Services has one of the most experienced joint venture management teams in the nation."

KU Health and Prime Healthcare may not be the only ones interested in taking over St. Francis. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Stormont Vail Health in Topeka is exploring the feasibility of acquiring the hospital.

With the interest St. Francis is getting from potential buyers, Gov. Brownback said earlier this week "there really should ne no reason for St. Francis to close," according to the Lawrence Journal-World.

More articles on healthcare industry transactions:

U of L could spin off its hospital due to uncertain healthcare environment
Children's Hospital Colorado, St. Mary's Medical Center to form children's care alliance

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