KU, Ardent Health take steps to complete St. Francis purchase

The University of Kansas Health System and Ardent Health Services have signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire St. Francis Health. The hospital will be renamed The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus upon the closing of the sale, which is expected by Nov. 1.

The agreement finalizes the terms and conditions of the sale and represents a significant milestone in the partnership’s bid to acquire the health system. The two organizations announced their plans to form a joint venture partnership to purchase St. Francis Health in May, amid trepidation that a buyer would not be found and St. Francis would close.

Following the announcement in May, Sabetha Community Hospital CEO Lora Key was “very pleased” that St. Francis would remain in Topeka.

Amid talks of a possible St. Francis closure, leaders at SCH had begun having discussions about how to move forward in this worst case scenario.

A total closure could have resulted in a medical market “flood” on the resources of Stormont Vail Health in Topeka. This flood could have had widespread negative impacts in the region, particularly on emergency transfers and specialty physician availability.

The next and final step in the sale process is obtaining regulatory approval from the Kansas Attorney General and various state regulatory agencies. Once approved, the parties can finalize the close of the sale.

“The finish line is now in clear sight and we look forward to becoming a part of the Topeka community in the near future,” said David T. Vandewater, president and chief executive officer of Ardent, which will manage day-to-day operations of the health system under the joint venture agreement.

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