Health Care Checkup: SLU getting new $500M facility, MU faces scrutiny

The Health Care Checkup is a weekly rundown of the state’s top health care headlines.


MU Hospital is under investigation by a senate committee for facilitating abortion | Photo courtesy of University Hospital
MU Hospital is under investigation for facilitating abortion in Columbia | Photo courtesy of University Hospital

Checking the Pulse

SSM Health to invest $500 million to replace SLU Hospital

SSM Health announced Tuesday it plans to spend $500 million building a new St. Louis University hospital. The new facilities, which include a replacement hospital and an outpatient care center, will be situated in the immediate vicinity of the current 365-bed hospital near SLU’s midtown campus. Construction is expected to be completed within five years.

The announcement was made after SSM Health officially took ownership of SLU Hospital on Tuesday, following 17 years during which the hospital was a property of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. SSM said the acquisition will not result in significant employment changes for the hospital.

MU pressured to revoke privileges for Planned Parenthood doctor

The Missouri Catholic Conference and anti-abortion lawmakers are asking the University of Missouri to revoke hospital privileges from the doctor at Planned Parenthood’s Columbia clinic. The facility received a license in July to perform abortions after a three-year lapse in those services.

Dr. Colleen McNicholas, the physician who started performing abortions in Columbia last month, was granted “refer and follow” privileges, which allows McNicholas to refer patients to physicians at MU Health and receive updates about their treatment. Republicans on a Senate committee investigating Planned Parenthood said they found McNicholas was recruited by a university staff. Committee members also suggested McNichols’ privileges are not permissible under state law, which prohibits the use of public resources for abortions.

MU denied that it was facilitating abortions in Columbia. University chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said the school is reviewing McNichols, and will make a decision in a few days.

KU Health Education Building to break ground

The University of Kansas Medical Center broke ground Aug. 27 on a $75 million health education building at the medical center’s Kansas City, Kan., campus. The new five-story building will serve as the primary education building for the University of Kansas School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Health Professions. The facility is expected to contain new teaching technology that will allow the school to change its curriculum train doctors in new ways. Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2017.

New apartments planned near St. Luke’s Hospital

Developers are set to break ground in late September on a new apartment building near Kansas City’s St. Luke’s Hospital. The project, named the Vernon on Washington, is designed to attract employees from the Plaza-area hospital. The St. Luke’s Foundation has been involved in the property design, and a St. Luke’s physician and his son are among the owner-developers of the property. Leasing of the building is expected to begin in late summer 2016.


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