Governor Brownback sees no reason for Topeka hospital to close

St. Francis Hospital Topeka (Courtesy: KSNT News)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says there’s no reason for a financially troubled Topeka hospital to close because a California nonprofit group is interested in taking it over.

Brownback told reporters Wednesday that Prime Healthcare Foundation is a legitimate potential buyer for the 378-bed St. Francis Health hospital in Topeka.

The governor said other options for keeping St. Francis open could emerge. The rival Topeka-area Stormont Vail Health system also has expressed an interest.

The owner of St. Francis is Denver-based SCL Health. It has said it will stop operating St. Francis this summer whether it has a buyer or not but is willing to donate the hospital to another organization.

St. Francis’ problems have reignited a debate over expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.