Board of Health to Hold Hospital Merger Forum, Release Statement

by Gabe Bullard on October 10, 2011

Representatives for the partners in a pending hospital merger will discuss public concerns over the consolidation at a forum later this month.

University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives are set to combine into a statewide network. The new entity would have to follow Catholic care directives. That has raised questions over how reproductive and end-of-life care would be handled.

The Metro Board of Health has asked officials to attend a community forum to address concerns. Board members have talked with hospital representatives before, and the forum will help determine the board’s position on the merger.

“The Board of Health will get together after the forum and put together a recommendation in terms of how we feel the public health can be best protected if the merger should go through,” says vice-chair Gabriela Alcalde.

Neither the board nor Metro Government has any authority over the merger. The state does, however, and Alcalde hopes that any concerns the board may have will be taken seriously.

“We want to make sure that if this change in our healthcare system happens, locally and statewide, that we don’t leave anybody vulnerable. That there is no change in the provision of healthcare or there are certain groups that are less able to access or have less quality of care,” she says.

Some procedures not allowed under Catholic doctrine will be performed at University of Louisville facilities, as U of L’s School of Medicine is not merging. Tubal ligations will be moved to Baptist Hospital East, though that has drawn criticism given Baptist East’s location miles away from the downtown U of L Hospital.

The forum is on the 19th.

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