St. Francis deal nears completion; new name announced

TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT) – The University of Kansas Health System and Ardent Health Services (“Ardent”) announced Monday they have signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire St. Francis Health. The hospital will be renamed The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus upon the closing of the sale, which is expected by November 1.

A press release from the organizations on Monday said the agreement finalizes the terms and conditions of the sale and represents a significant milestone in the partnership’s bid to acquire the health system. The two organizations announced their plans to form a joint venture partnership to purchase St. Francis Health in May.

“We have completed an important step toward a new beginning for the associates, physicians, patients and community members who depend on St. Francis,” said Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Health System. “We are pleased to move forward with a new name that celebrates the promise of our partnership while honoring the hospital’s rich legacy.”

The next and final step in the sale process is obtaining regulatory approval from the Kansas Attorney General and various state regulatory agencies. Once approved, the parties can finalize the close of the sale.

“The finish line is now in clear sight and we look forward to becoming a part of the Topeka community in the near future.”” said David T. Vandewater, president and chief executive officer of Ardent, which will manage day-to-day operations of the health system under the joint venture agreement.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Monday his office will accept public comments on the proposed sale. Schmidt’s office said under Kansas law, the attorney general reviews conversions of not-for-profit entities, such as St. Francis, to for-profit entities to ensure compliance with state laws protecting charitable assets. The public comment period is intended to allow members of the public and affected consumers to provide information to the attorney general on the proposed sale and the impact on health care services in Northeast Kansas – whether favorable, unfavorable, or neutral.

“Since SCL announced its intent first to close, and later to sell, St. Francis, we have been engaged in a thorough review of the proposed transaction to ensure compliance with Kansas law,” Schmidt said. “I anticipate the public comment period to be the final step necessary for our review, and I encourage anyone with information about the proposed sale and asset conversion to file comments and bring that information to our attention. The purpose is to ensure our review is complete and does not miss any pertinent issues.”

The two-week public comment period will open at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, October 4, and will close at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, October 17.

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