Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast have asked the state’s Attorney General to look into the reported potential closure of a Topeka hospital.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt confirmed Friday he will launch an inquiry aimed at ensuring the charitable assets of St. Francis remain in Kansas.
According to a release, the hospital’s parent company maintains over $2 billion dollars in assets, yet is seeking to “divest” St. Francis, possibly leading to its closure.
St. Francis came to the state in 1858 through an organization called Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. The organization is still considered a non-profit corporation under Kansas law.
The actions 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,” stated Brownback in a news release. “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.”
Schmidt’s office has the authority to safeguard Kansas charities. The Attorney General says it would be “deeply-troubling” if the owners decide to close the hospital.
“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,” stated Schmidt.
A St. Francis spokesperson could not comment on the rumored closure, but an announcement on the hospital’s future is expected on Tuesday.
According to several Facebook posts, hospital employees and members of the Topeka community will hold a candlelight vigil Monday night. The vigil will start at 8 p.m. in the east parking lot.