Brian Newsome, Director of Public Affairs
Work continues to seek alternatives to closure
Broomfield, COLO. (April 18, 2017) – SCL Health continues to explore options for a new owner or operator for St. Francis Health after lengthy evaluation of strategic options failed to secure another operator or owner for the hospital and its clinics.
Multiple options were considered over the last two years to avoid closing the hospital and are still being explored now. The system is eager to discuss any alternatives that can be accomplished swiftly and is willing to donate St. Francis to another organization that can take over operations. With or without another operator, however, SCL Health will cease operating the hospital this summer.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions our organization has ever faced,” said SCL Health President and CEO Mike Slubowski. “St. Francis Health is not sustainable in today’s dramatically changing healthcare environment. But that doesn’t diminish the legacy of more than a century of service to this community or prevent another modified role in the future. We have been in conversations yesterday and today with Governor Brownback, the Chamber and other local providers about possible solutions to sustain St. Francis. We are hopeful and will know something more definite by the first week in May.”
Regardless of the short-term search for another operator, SCL Health is committed to a compassionate transition that is focused on quality care for patients and support for St. Francis’ dedicated associates. Over the next several weeks the system will coordinate with other hospitals and providers to determine the best way to ensure quality, safety and continuity of care for the community while winding down its operations.
There has never been a more difficult environment for hospitals than today, with health reform and its related challenges. St. Francis has struggled financially, losing $117 million over the last five years. Physician clinics lost $31 million in 2016 alone. All of this has come as the number of patients has dramatically decreased. Additionally, without expanded Medicaid coverage and other challenges related to public programs, St. Francis experienced added pressure. Uncompensated and charity care more than doubled from 2012 to 2016.
Despite these significant and sustained losses, SCL Health evaluated numerous strategic options to ensure a viable future for the hospital and physicians. In 2015, discussions with local providers and insurance companies failed to produce anything concrete. In May 2016, SCL Health announced plans to transition operations to another owner. While multiple buyers showed interest, in the end none were willing to take ownership of the hospital and physician practices.
SCL Health has subsidized these financial deficits and, as a faith-based nonprofit, must now exercise good stewardship and focus resources where they can have the greatest impact in support of its mission.
SCL Health is committed to maintaining during this process the high quality care for which St. Francis Health is known. Patients will not see immediate changes but should look for more information in the coming weeks about changing operations, including scheduling of appointments and accessing medical records.
SCL Health will be providing associates with access to resources and tools to help with the transition, including counseling, placement and resume writing services, and, ultimately, severance or a chance to explore other opportunities with SCL Health or local or regional providers.
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 12 hospitals, 210 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 www.sclhealth.org