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Hospital may buy dental clinic

Staff writer

The board of directors of St. Luke Hospital is researching the possibility of purchasing a local dental clinic.

In a 30-minute executive session during Tuesday night’s meeting, the hospital board talked with Marion dentist Gerald Vinduska, who is moving to Hutchinson and will become dental director at Health Ministries Clinic in Newton.

“He wants to sell the practice,” CEO Jeremy Ensey told board members. “He has some other people interested, but he and I have been talking and I said to talk to the board.”

The board didn’t make any decisions on the matter.

Board chair Mike Connell said the board should “look at other hospital/dental combinations and see how that works.”

Vinduska earlier announced that he has made arrangements for patients to continue being seen at the clinic into the summer.

After another executive session, the board approved a contract offer for a physician being recruited to fill a vacancy left by the departure of Paige Dodson. A request for a copy of the contract was declined.

Both executive sessions appeared to violate the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Reached by telephone after the meeting, legal counsel for the Kansas Press Association termed the violations “blatant” and recommended that the newspaper file a formal complaint.

The reasons for closing the  sessions were, according to the attorney, “not even close” to the specifically itemized situations in which meetings may be closed to the public.

Moreover, a document mentioned in a public meeting automatically becomes a public document and cannot be withheld.

Because hospital officials may not have received as much training as other officials receive on how the Open Meetings Act prevents public bodies from conducting public business in secret, the newspaper has decided not to file a complaint at this time and instead hopes to converse with hospital officials later this week.

Last modified March 23, 2016

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