St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
In what seems to be a national trend, as environmental aesthetics and population health take on more importance in healthcare, urban hospitals are boosting efforts to protect and promote their neighborhoods. Among the bigger recent examples are Stamford Hospital, in Stamford, Conn., and St. Luke’s Hospital, which is working through a foundation, in Kansas City, Mo.
In various indirect and direct ways, they have taken on the unusual role for hospitals — residential real-estate developer.
The Kansas City Star reports that St. Luke’s Hospital “is building new residences, buying property and renovating and reselling old houses in the neighborhood in an effort to stabilize and improve” the neighborhood.
“The work began 17 years ago when a foundation and trust associated with a Kansas City developer gave 93 area properties to St. Luke’s Foundation, which then founded the for-profit Westport Today. Efforts to improve existing houses in the area expanded in the last few years to building and selling new residential townhouses. Property near the hospital is slated for medical building construction.”
Other expanding hospital chains will be watching the Ohio/Michigan system ProMedica’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to keep a hospital it acquired several years ago. A lower court had ruled that the purchase broke antitrust laws.
The Supreme Court filing follows an April ruling in which a federal appeals court sided with the Federal Trade Commission’s order to ProMedica to divest itself of St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, Ohio. The judges said the purchase, in reducing competition, would unfairly raises prices for patients and insurers. Kaiser Health news reported that ProMedica lawyers have argued that the appeals court was flawed in assuming that ”greater market share would lead to price increases. They also have said that selling the community hospital would lead to the hospital’s demise.”
Cambridge Management Group has reported on another important hospital antitrust case, in which a federal appeals court is considering Idaho-based St. Luke’s Health System’s acquisition of a physician group.