Topeka hospital purchase finalized

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The University of Kansas Health System and Ardent Health Services have completed the purchase of St. Francis Health in Topeka.

The two organizations formed a joint venture to acquire St. Francis Hospital and clinics earlier this year. Terms were not disclosed.

The hospital will be renamed The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus and the system’s 15 medical clinics will be known as The University of Kansas Physicians Topeka.

Ardent and The University of Kansas Health System have committed to invest $50 million in the system. Ardent will manage day-to-day operations while working closely with The University of Kansas Health System to provide clinical and financial resources to help the hospital and clinics succeed in today’s changing health care environment.

Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Health System said Wednesday represents a new beginning for the associates, physicians, patients and community members who depend on St. Francis.

“With a shared focus on quality, the clinical resources of a major academic medical center and Ardent’s strong track record of operating successful hospitals, the joint venture will provide the resources and support needed to sustain and grow the hospital and ambulatory sites to serve future generations.”

While they have big plans for the future, Page said that patients should not immediately notice any difference in care.

David T. Vandewater, president and CEO of Ardent said after spending the past few months with the associates and physicians of the hospital and clinics, as well as their partners at The University of Kansas Health System, they are confident this partnership will provide the health system with a solid path forward.

“We are honored to be a part of this community and look forward to preserving the hospital’s rich legacy while investing in its future,” said Vandewater.

Vandewater did acknowledge the 60 St. Francis employees that lost their jobs last week. He said they were mostly non-clinical employees who’s position was already being covered in the home office.

“It wasn’t 1600 jobs. That’s what was saved out of this and that’s what I want to make sure does not go unnoticed,” said Vandewater.

The fate of these employees was not always clear. Earlier this year, many feared that the hospital would close and all of it’s employees would be out of a job.

Pete Chooncharoen however always had faith. The transporter has worked for St. Francis for nearly 30 years and he always believed the hospital would stay open.

“Me, I never worry at all, my coworkers, something’s going to happen because we had a good hospital,” said Chooncharoen.

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