May 28, 2023

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Joint Effort for Better Care

It’s good that KU Health System executives and Kansas Athletics Sports Medicine officials have worked out a plan whereby Kansas Athletics Sports employees now will be part of the Kansas Health System.

It is a good move for KU athletes and hopefully will serve as an ice breaker in opening meaningful discussions between KU Health System and LMH Health (Lawrence Memorial Hospital) officials.

Over the years there have been serious discussions among Lawrence hospital doctors and administrators about a possible affiliation with Kansas City’s St. Luke’s Hospital or KU Hospital in Kansas City KS.

Several votes were taken on the matter with doctors divided relative to which hospital they preferred to work with. Eventually, the matter was set aside.

However, in the last year or two, KU Health System has entered into joint relations with hospitals in Topeka, Hays, Great Bend and Pawnee Valley and there is growing interest among some that a mutually rewarding relationship should be worked out between the Lawrence and KU hospitals.

Health care, and the economics of health care, are changing and it will become increasingly difficult for relatively small, stand-alone hospitals to be able to match the services, economic benefits and excellence of larger hospitals.

KU Health System hospital is recognized as one of the nation’s top teaching hospitals and it is considered the outstanding hospital in greater Kansas City. It is growing year by year under the excellent leadership of Bob Page.

Likewise, LMH Health is a far better hospital today than it was years ago. It enjoys the leadership of Russ Johnson.

However, a Kansas Health System relationship with LMH Health could be a winner for all parties….patients, the possibilities of interns or residents for LMH Health, savings in the costs of supplies and the services of specialists and research available at KU Health System.

Some Lawrence doctors don’t like the idea of joining with KU Health System, or even St. Luke’s, as they prize their independence and don’t like the possibility of taking orders from KU Health System or St. Luke’s officials.

However, with the thousands of KU faculty and students living in Lawrence, only a short distance from KU Health System in Kansas City, and now that Kansas Athletics Sports here in Lawrence is part of KU Health System, it seems now is the time for LMH Health and KU Health System officials to study and discuss the benefits of a close relationship between the two health care providers. It also should be pointed out KU Chancellor Doug Girod was Executive Vice Chancellor at KU Hospital prior to moving into the chancellor’s office.

There are many reasons why a joint relationship would be wise but the most important factor is what is in the best interests of the patients and how to deliver the best possible medical services.