November 16, 2012 — The University of Louisville Hospital has announced plans to enter a joint-operating agreement with KentuckyOne Health, an organization that Gov. Steve Beshear (D) prevented the hospital from merging into last year, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
Hospital officials said the agreement does not require the hospital to comply with Catholic health directives followed by Catholic Health Initiatives, the majority owner of KentuckyOne. Disagreements over whether the university's facilities would have to abide by Catholic rules on women's reproductive health services were "a major sticking point" in the previous negotiations, according to the Courier-Journal.
Financial struggles prompted the hospital to search for a strategic partner last year, and it pursued a merger with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System, which later became KentuckyOne.
However, Beshear rejected the merger out of concern that the deal would cost the state control of University Hospital, which he deemed a valuable public asset. Moreover, Beshear was concerned that the state hospital would be influenced by the religious affiliations of the health systems, particularly with regard to women's health services and end-of-life care.
Details of New Agreement
Although KentuckyOne has requested that University Hospital and its staff "respect" the Catholic directives, both entities have stated that the hospital's current policies for women's health, end-of-life care and pharmacy services will not change.
KentuckyOne will oversee most day-to-day operations at the university's health care facilities, but the university will retain control of the new Center for Women and Infants, which will provide reproductive health services (Ungar, Louisville Courier-Journal, 11/14).
Additionally, the state will not relinquish control of University Hospital to KentuckyOne. Members of the current hospital board will keep their posts and management will remain local (Selvam, Modern Healthcare, 11/14). KentuckyOne will invest about $1.4 billion over 20 years into University of Louisville health operations (Louisville Courier-Journal, 11/14).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership