Closure of St. Francis in Topeka could affect NRH

The recent news of St. Francis Hospital possibly closing later this year could have a direct impact on Newman Regional Health.
The Topeka hospital's parent company, SCL Health, plans to end its association with the hospital this summer. Stormont-Vail Hospital is working with St. Francis to possibly take over assets, and Gov. Sam brownback's office has contacted other potential operators to make sure the doors stay open.
If the hospital closes, Bob Wright, the chief executive officer at Newman Regional Health, tells KVOE News there could be changes for patient transfers out of our area. That could cause a ripple effect involving more than just the hospital here.
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Wright does not anticipate more transfers coming here from Topeka, but he says there could be some benefits to Newman Regional Health as well, depending on how things develop. The hospital has several different ventures that could gain more attention.
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Wright says a July closure is an aggressive schedule for St. Francis. He says closing a hospital takes a federal review before it can move forward.
SCL Health says the Topeka hospital has lost nearly $120 million the past five years, largely due to a sharp spike in uncompensated and charity care that wasn't reimbursed because the state has decided against expanding Medicaid access. Associated physician clinics lost $31 million just last year. SCL Health has been searching -- unsuccessfully -- for nearly a year to get a buyer for St. Francis.