Pima County's new budget includes $15 million for a south-side hospital operated by the University of Arizona Health Network.

Although the county originally planned to subsidize the former Kino Community Hospital for only 10 years when it first handed the facility over to a private operator in 2004, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry now says he expects the county to continue providing funding to the hospital indefinitely.

The hospital, which has since become the University of Arizona Medical Center's South Campus, 2800 E. Ajo Way, is a teaching hospital that will use the county money to support graduate medical education, Huckelberry said. He said the county funding translates into a subsidy of $45 million, since the $15 million will allow the hospital to procure matching funds from the federal government.

"The collaboration between Pima County and the UA Health Network at South Campus has been very effective and is a crucial link in our mutual mission of providing access to the highest level of care for Pima County residents. We have also jointly created an innovative model for the provision of behavioral-health services," a statement from the UA Health Network says.

Network officials also said the county support will allow the network to support graduate medical education and defray some of the costs associated with operating its South Campus, which it classified as a "safety-net hospital critical to our community."

University Physicians Healthcare took over operations at the hospital in 2004 and had agreement for the county to subsidize it over the next 10 years. At that time, its name became UPH Hospital at Kino. As of March 2013, the county has provided the hospital with $180.9 million in direct funding, county officials said Tuesday.

Since 2010, the hospital has been operated by the University of Arizona Health Network, a non-profit corporation created from a merger between University Medical Center Corp. and University Physicians Healthcare. In 2011, the hospital's name was changed to the UA Medical Center - South Campus.

"We view the university and the medical network as kind of a long-term partner. We still own the buildings, they lease from us," Huckelberry said of the South Campus. "The UA Health Network is doing a great job. Their performance indicators are pretty phenomenal."

Since 2005, the hospital has seen an 87 percent increase in adjusted patient days, an increase of 22 percent in emergency-department visits and a nearly 300 percent increase in surgical procedures, a county memo released Tuesday says.

Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at sinnes@azstarnet.com or 573-4134.