Bryan Cohen Apr. 2, 2013, 5:50pm

TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Monday that the new owner of non-profit hospitals in Leavenworth and Wyandotte will enter an agreement to maintain charitable healthcare for at least five years.

Prime Healthcare Services Inc. and its local affiliates agreed to enter into a binding agreement with Schmidt's office to continue providing charitable care and hearing community input about operations. Prime must continue to provide the care at a level at least equal to the level provided by previous owners the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System Inc.

Under Kansas law, Schmidt is responsible for making sure the sale of charitable assets to a for-profit organization complies sufficiently with public interest.

Schmidt said the agreement would provide enough assurance to allow him to take no action to block the sale.

"The communities in Leavenworth and Wyandotte Counties rely on the services provided by these two hospitals," Schmidt said. "Keeping them open so they continue to provide health care services was clearly the top priority for the affected communities, and the new owner's additional binding commitment to continue listening to community input and to maintain charitable care confirm that this sale is a satisfactory option."

During a public hearing in Kansas City last week, Schmidt heard input about the proposed sale. Most people and organizations supported the sale and concerns raised by others were addressed by the agreement. Schmidt's office also commissioned an independent review of the transaction to determine that Prime was the most qualified bidder offering a reasonable sale price.

"Kansas will, of course, expect these new owners not only to live up to their commitments in this transaction but also to diligently comply with all aspects of Kansas law in their operations here," Schmidt said.

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