KU Health System Adds Topeka’s St. Francis

 The University of Kansas Health System and Ardent Health Services have announced completion of their purchase of St. Francis Health, a move that will keep the financially struggling Topeka hospital’s doors open. In a news release issued this morning, the partners said the facility would be known as 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.

The terms of the sale were not disclosed, but Ardent and the health system have committed to invest $50 million in the venture, with Ardent managing day-to-day operations.

“Today represents 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 KU Health System. The joint venture, he said, “will provide the resources and support needed to sustain and grow the hospital and ambulatory sites to serve future generations.”

KU Health, the state’s only academic medical center, had revenues of more than $6 billion in 2016. That’s roughly twice the $3 billion reported last year by Nashville-based Ardent, one of the nation’s largest private, for-profit hospital operators. Ardent has a considerably larger jobs footprint, with 18,000 employees, more than twice KU Health’s 8,250 in 2016.

Ardent now operates 21 hospitals in seven states, and this represents the seventh joint venture with a not-for-profit health system. The two organizations will share governance with equal representation on the joint venture’s board of directors, and will establish a local board of trustees for the hospital and clinics, the release said.