University of Kansas Health System poised to buy St. Francis Health

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – SCL Health announced Thursday it will pursue a proposal submitted by the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kan. and Ardent Health Services in Nashville, Tenn. to take over ownership of Topeka’s St. Francis hospital.

The two parties indicated to SCL Health that they are forming a co-owned, joint venture company to oversee the operations and managements of the Topeka hospital and its physician practices.

SCL Health selected the proposal after evaluating interest from multiple organizations, including Stormont-Vail hospital, and determined the KU/Ardent proposal best met established criteria and could be finalized swiftly. They said this will pave the way for a smooth transition for St. Francis Health’s patients and associates.

SCL Health President and CEO Michael Slubowski said they are grateful to have a path forward to secure St. Francis’ future and they are optimistic that they will reach a final agreement.

“Both The University of Kansas Health System and Ardent have reputations for delivering quality healthcare services and also have the assets and experience needed to support St. Francis and its physicians so they can continue to provide compassionate, quality care to their communities,” Slubowski said.

St. Francis Health President David Setchel expressed gratitude, saying “I am thankful for the outpouring of support from the Topeka community and the great work of our associates, whose compassion and care for patients never wavered. We are looking forward to working together with The University of Kansas Health System and Ardent, and agree with SCL Health that they are the preferred partners to support St. Francis’ mission to provide vital healthcare services in Topeka and beyond.”

SCL Health has reported financial losses in recent years. It placed St. Francis on the market last year, leaving 1,600 employees increasingly anxious about its future.

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