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Former MU Chancellor Won’t Have Role With Cerner-MU Health Partnership

Mark Schierbecker
Former MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned on Nov. 9 amid protests on the Columbia campus.

Former University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin will not take on a role with the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, the partnership formed by MU and Cerner Corp. to digitize the university’s sprawling health system and reduce its health care costs.

The Columbia Missourian, quoting an MU spokesman, reported that Cerner did not concur with Loftin’s role “and the position turned out not to be feasible, so Dr. Loftin did not assume a position with the Tiger Institute.”

Cerner, the Kansas City-based health information technology giant, had previously made clear it was unhappy that MU had given Loftin a supporting role in the partnership without apprising Cerner first.

Amid ongoing racial unrest on MU’s Columbia campus, Loftin and Tim Wolfe, the university system’s president, resigned on Nov. 9. Loftin’s written transition agreement with MU called for him to direct university research supporting the Tiger Institute.

But in a Nov. 12 letter to the chairman of MU’s governing board, Cerner’s corporate counsel complained that Cerner had not been notified or consulted about Loftin’s role.

In a statement, Cerner later said it was concerned “with the university’s decision to act unilaterally in speculatively including the possibility of a supporting role for Dr. Loftin within the Tiger Institute. This action does not comply with the governance structure for oversight of the Tiger Institute.”

MU and Cerner formed the institute in 2009. They extended the partnership last year to 2025.

Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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