The Multiple Sclerosis Center at Baptist Hospital East is closing today following a financial dispute with the University of Louisville.
The MS center was built around the part-time services of a University of Louisville doctor. The doctor was not paid by Baptist East, and U of L Neurology Chair Dr. Robert Friedland says doctors can’t sacrifice work time for volunteering.
“They can volunteer on the night or weekends, but I can’t have one of my doctors say, ‘Well every Monday I’m going to provide my services for free at some program for which I would not be paid,'” he says.
Baptist East spokesperson Kit Fullenlove says the hospital can’t afford to help pay the specialist’s salary.
“We were asked to pay for something that we were providing as a community service—and we have provided it for the last 13 years—and we were promised no additional services in return,” she says. “In today’s economy, that’s a terrible decision to be faced with and U of L placed in a position where we had to surrender the service.”
The hospital will still offer ancillary services like physical therapy to its 600 MS patients. The specialist is now working with MS patients at U of L’s health sciences campus.