Extending its growing reach in Kansas, The University of Kansas Hospital has finalized its agreement to partner with Hays Medical Center in the northwest part of the state.
In September, the two institutions signed a letter of intent to join forces, with HaysMed maintaining its name and separate ownership structure.
The partnership enables HaysMed, a 206-bed hospital, to draw on KU’s expertise treating patients requiring complex care and to enhance its recruiting efforts. And it allows KU Hospital, the only academic medical center in the state, to fulfill its mission of treating patients not just in metropolitan Kansas City but throughout Kansas.
“The goal for us is how can we partner with a HaysMed, how can we keep patients close to home more often than not, but (also) how can we be that partner should they need a higher level of resources,” says Bob Page, president and CEO of KU Hospital.
The hospitals are building on a relationship established three years ago when KU Hospital and HaysMed teamed up to treat heart and stroke patients. Both say they’re open to other collaborations in areas such as telemedicine, rural health, population health and clinical program development.
The formalized agreement between the two comes after KU Hospital last year announced a radiation oncology partnership with Stormont-Vail Health in Topeka and disclosed plans to enter the Lawrence market with an orthopedic and sports medicine clinic.
It’s also constructing a new hospital building at 107th and Nall in Overland Park, expanding its presence there. Plans call for the building to have 18 patient rooms when it’s completed in 2018, with space for an additional 17 beds if demand is sufficiently robust.
KU Hospital became an independent hospital authority in 1998 after 92 years as part of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. In setting it up as an independent entity, the Kansas Legislature declared that part of its mission was to provide patient care and specialized services not readily available in other parts of the state.
Page says that statutory mission has been made easier by the recent establishment at KU Hospital of a more streamlined structure. Previously, inpatient and ambulatory care were provided through 18 different departments, each with its own governing foundation. Those have now been integrated into a unified practice headed by Page and a single governing board.
“What that has allowed is for discussions to occur in a much more expedient way than they did when we had 18, 19, 20 different leaders,” Page says.
Ultimately, the partnership with HaysMed “allows us to put the best and brightest minds together with one focus and that is what can we do to optimize care for Kansans,” Page says.
Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.