- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka-area community health system is moving forward with a bid to acquire a financially troubled rival hospital.

Stormont Vail Health submitted a letter of intent Friday saying it wants to acquire the 378-bed St. Francis Health hospital. It previously had expressed interest in an acquisition.

St. Francis is owned by Denver-based SCL Health. SCL has said it plans to stop operating St. Francis this summer whether it has a buyer or not.

Stormont Vail is among three potential buyers. The others are the University of Kansas Health System and the California-based Prime Healthcare Foundation.

Stormont Vail operates a 586-bed hospital in the Kansas capital city.

St. Francis’ possible closure has reignited a debate among Kansas legislators over expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.

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