SCL Health Seeks to Transform Topeka Healthcare Ministry

May 25, 2016

Media Contacts:

SCL Health
Christine Woolsey

St. Francis Health
Nikki Sloup

Health system soliciting proposals for St. Francis Health and physician group

DENVER — (May 26, 2016) – SCL Health, a faith-based, nonprofit that operates hospitals and health services in three states, today announced plans to seek proposals from healthcare providers interested in assuming responsibility for St. Francis Health, a 378-bed tertiary hospital in Topeka, Kan.

St. Francis is one of two hospitals located in Topeka and offers comprehensive services, including general medicine and general surgery, medical and interventional cardiology, obstetrics, oncology and orthopedics. In addition to its main healthcare facility, St. Francis employs a robust multi-specialty medical group of more than 70 primary and specialty care providers.

The hospital, founded in 1909 by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, has been serving community health needs, with special emphasis on care for those who are poor and vulnerable, for more than a century. Because the healthcare environment is changing rapidly, SCL Health is looking for a partner that will enable St. Francis to evolve in a healthcare environment that rewards value rather than volume.

“St. Francis is recognized locally as one of the most affordable, quality providers in the region,” said SCL Health President and CEO Michael A. Slubowski. “Yet, for some years St. Francis has been challenged to strengthen and expand its healing ministry at a time when health reform is requiring all hospitals to rethink how to provide care most effectively and efficiently.”

SCL Health and St. Francis had been evaluating a number of strategic scenarios, and in 2015 discussed the potential for collaborative arrangements with local providers and insurers. After failing to reach consensus, SCL Health continued to study alternatives and ultimately decided to seek interest from a wider group of healthcare organizations.

“This was a difficult decision and one that involved significant contemplation and prayer,” Slubowski said. “Both the SCL Health Board and St. Francis’s Board ultimately agreed that the best way to ensure a viable future for St. Francis, its associates and physicians is to find another provider organization, preferably with operations in Kansas. We want an organization that will support local leadership as they re-invent St. Francis to compete in a unique market and in a state that has yet to expand Medicaid coverage.”

“This is an important decision that will change the path of St. Francis Health, and is an important opportunity to strengthen the ministry,” said Greg Schwerdt, Chair of St. Francis’ Board of Directors.

SCL Health has engaged Citi, a national expert in healthcare transactions, to manage the process to collect proposals. Among the top priorities SCL Health and St. Francis seek in a provider are commitments to:

  • Continue to fulfill the healthcare needs of the community;
  • Continue the provide charity care services to meet community needs;
  • Continue to make investments in appropriate capital projects and information technology needs.

As part of this transition, SCL Health is committed to maintaining charity care services and community benefits. Marian Dental Clinic, which provides much-needed oral health care to the underserved, will continue its mission. St. Francis Health Foundation will continue to support local community health needs as well.

“I’m confident we will attract interest,” said St. Francis Health President David Setchel. “We offer superior quality and outstanding physicians, nurses, allied health providers and associates who are committed to providing the highest level of person-centered care. Additionally, we have the benefit of the transformation happening in the Topeka community, with strong local leadership that is driving exciting revitalization efforts in Downtown Topeka and other key projects that support our city’s economic development and quality of life. We are proud of our ministry and look forward to continuing our legacy of healing in Topeka for many years to come.”

St. Francis and SCL Health will not respond to inquiries from interested parties for information related to this process. Any inquiries, including opportunities to participate as a prospective provider, should be directed exclusively to Citi via email at

About SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve, especially the poor and vulnerable. Our $2.5 billion health network aspires to provide comprehensive, coordinated care through our 10 hospitals, more than 160 physician clinics, home health care, hospice, mental health care, and safety-net services in three states – Colorado, Kansas and Montana. We proudly partner with other organizations to improve quality and the patient experience. SCL Health provides more than $222 million a year in community benefit. SCL Health was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, who opened their first hospital in 1864. To learn more, visit

About St. Francis Health

St. Francis Health, located in Topeka, Kansas, is a nonprofit Catholic health care network and a member of SCL Health. Since 1909, our multispecialty care community has worked together to pioneer inspired, innovative care in our mission to improve not only the health of those we serve, but to improve their lives. From our 378-bed medical center in Topeka to more than 20 clinics throughout the region, St. Francis Health employs more than 70 primary and specialty care providers, all focused on delivering the region’s most advanced technology and compassionate care. For more information, visit us at


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