Vigil for financially troubled Topeka hospital draws many

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TOPEKA — Hundreds of people have gathered in Topeka for a candlelight vigil in support of a financially troubled nonprofit Catholic hospital that faces an uncertain future.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that nurses, physicians, maintenance staff, security guards, clergy and former patients marched Monday night in front of St. Francis Hospital.

Anna Munns, who works in patient access, created the event on Facebook. She says the 378-bed hospital is a “huge part of the community.”

St. Francis’s Denver-based owners, SCL Health, has reported financial losses in recent years. It placed St. Francis on the market 11 months ago, leaving 1,600 employees increasingly anxious about its future.

Former state lawmaker David Heinemann says it’s important to re-examine Medicaid expansion, saying the failure to expand the program appears to be affecting St. Francis.

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