University of Louisville Hospital enters into statewide partnership


by Adam Walser

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 7:27 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- There is a new healthcare partnership in Louisville between University Hospital, the University of Louisville and KentuckyOne Health.

“Today we're announcing that the University of Louisville and University Medical Center have entered into long term partnership with Kentucky One Health,” said University of Louisville President James Ramsey Wednesday, as hundreds looked on from a packed auditorium.

The announcement came nearly a year after a proposed merger between University Medical Center, Jewish Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives failed.

At that time, Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway refused to sign off on the deal, since it would have given away publicly owned property and would have prevented university hospital from offering reproductive services banned by Catholic health care directives.

In January, Jewish and CHI merged to form KentuckyOne, which entered into a new partnership, rather than a merger.

“As you know, we had several concerns about any planned partnership with University Hospital,” said Gov. Beshear. “And with this arrangement the University of Louisville has met each of them to our satisfaction. “

“It’s going to infuse this medical center with over a billion dollars in present terms over the course of the agreement,” said Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. “It does not transfer a state asset. It protects women's health. It maintains all current services and it insures the hospital’s ability to help care for the community’s indigent.”

Jewish Hospital adopted Catholic health directives when KentuckyOne was formed, but University Hospital officials say that won't be the case at University Medical Center.

The new agreement will bring much needed cash to the struggling hospital, nearly $ 1.4 billion over the next two decades, while maintaining current levels of care to indigent patients.

“There will be no change in the scope, location and provision of women's care, including reproductive health services,” said University Hospital President James Taylor.

Community activist Honi Goldman led a movement to stop the original merger and questions this partnership as well.

“It goes against the Catholic directives. And when you are putting a billion dollars into the system, some time someone's gonna say ‘we own you,'” said Goldman.

We contacted the Archdiocese of Louisville Wednesday afternoon, which released the following statement:

"The Archdiocese has not been a part of the planning or negotiations....There does not appear to be moral roadblocks to continuing recognition of KentuckyOne Health by the church.  We will rely on moral ethicians to advise us as the new agreement is finalized."

UMC Spokesperson David McArthur told us that University Hospital’s Women’s and Infants Center will continue to be directly managed by the UMC Board of Directors, while the other hospital entities will be managed by KentuckyOne Health.