TOPEKA – Governor Sam Brownback and Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast today asked Attorney General Derek Schmidt to examine the financial structure of St. Francis Hospital of Topeka. Following a joint meeting late Friday afternoon between Governor Brownback, Attorney General Schmidt, and St. Francis medical personnel, Attorney General Schmidt confirmed he will launch an inquiry aimed at ensuring the charitable assets of St. Francis remain in Kansas.
The hospital’s parent company maintains over $2 billion dollars in assets, yet is seeking to “divest” St. Francis, possibly leading to its closure. The Kansas roots of St. Francis trace back to 1858 and the founding of Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth which remains organized as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Kansas. The actions by Governor Brownback and Attorney General Schmidt seek to protect Kansas-based charitable assets from being improperly transferred from the state leading to the closure of St. Francis.
“St. Francis has benefitted from its status as a Kansas charity for many years, and it is important to make certain that such charitable assets are properly managed and remain in Kansas,” said Governor Brownback. “The charitable assets should stay here for the benefit of Kansans, to serve their stated mission of improving the health of those who are poor and vulnerable. Northeast Kansas needs the medical services St. Francis provides.”
The office of the Attorney General has the authority to safeguard Kansas charities.
“Any decision by its out-of-state owners that would fail to maintain full operations of Saint Francis Hospital would be deeply troubling,” Schmidt said. “The absence of meaningful consultation with local leaders compounds the concern, particularly in light of the considerable benefits the people of Kansas have bestowed on this charitable operation over the years.”
Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast emphasized the importance of St. Francis to the health and economy of Topeka and surrounding communities.
“I share Governor Brownback and the Attorney General’s deep concern that the charitable assets of St. Francis Hospital, a hospital that met the health care needs of our community for so long, will be improperly removed from the people it serves,” Wolgast said. “I welcome the action the Attorney General is taking. St. Francis has been a vital part of this city and northeast Kansas for 159 years and has benefitted by the non-profit status the citizens of Kansas granted.”