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Report Cites Traffic Concerns Near Preferred VA Hospital Site

The federal government is likely to move ahead soon with purchasing property on Brownsboro Road to build Louisville’s new VA hospital. But first, officials are waiting for the completion of an environmental assessment later this month.

The assessment covers more than a dozen direct, indirect and cumulative effects the hospital will have on the area near the I-264 interchange. This includes environmental, cultural, and geological issues. The public will have a chance to comment on the report until April 29, and VA’s Bob Morey said he expects the property to be purchased within a month.

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Second Hospital Merger Forum Is Tonight

A second public forum will be held tonight on the pending hospital merger between University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives.

The merger will limit some reproductive services offered at University Hospital, and that has raised concerns among many patients.

The forum is organized by the African American Think Tank and will be held at the African American Heritage Museum at 5:30. It’s meant to gather reactions and questions about the merger from west and southwest Louisville.

A spokesman says University of Louisville officials appreciate being invited to the forum, but school and hospital official will not attend.

Representatives from U of L, CHI and Jewish Hospital spoke at a Board of Health forum yesterday.

 

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Bonick Leaves Jewish Hospital Medical Campus

A senior executive at Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare has resigned.

Martin Bonick was senior vice president of the organization and president and CEO of the Jewish Hospital Medical Campus. Hospital officials have declined to elaborate on Bonick’s resignation, opting only to release a statement acknowledging his departure.

Hospital consultant Doug Howell will replace Bonick in the interim.

The president of Saints Mary and Elizabeth Hospital resigned last month, marking the second executive to leave the organization amid merger talks between Jewish Hospital, University of Louisville Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives.

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Hospital Officials Say Layoffs Are A Sign of Merger’s Necessity

Officials with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare say the recent round of layoffs is an example of why the healthcare provider must merge with University of Louisville Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives.

Yesterday, Jewish Hospital cut 155 jobs. Last year, the system cut 500. The hospital merger will create a number of redundancies and likely lead to further cuts.

In a statement issued today, a spokesperson says those efficiencies are necessary to prevent even more cuts.

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Hand Transplant Recipient Recovering Faster Than Expected

by Graham Shelby

In all of human history, only a handful of people have had the experience Richard Edwards has every day: Looking at the end of his arm and seeing someone else’s hand.

Edwards is the recipient of only the third double-hand transplant ever. Surgeons performed the operation at Jewish Hospital in August.

Edwards says if you were looking at one of his arms, this is what you’d see: “You’ll see a scar all the way around that forearm. You’ll see a lighter skinned – and hairy – a lot longer hair on that donated hand.” His new hands came from an anonymous organ donor. Edwards says he hopes to someday meet the family of the man whose hands he received.

Edwards suffered severe burns and lost several fingers in a car fire. Since the operation, he’s made significant progress in physical therapy. He can extend and bend his fingers, brush his teeth and open a round doorknob. He has aspirations, too. “I’d like to be able to touch my wife’s skin – and feel it,” he says. “I’d like to be able to pull the trigger on a gun. I love shooting pistols. I love going hunting.”

His doctors have said they may clear him to go home to Oklahoma for Christmas.

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VA Still Studying Locations For New Hospital

by Gabe Bullard

The list of possible locations for a new veterans hospital in Louisville is being whittled down.

The new hospital could be located next to the existing one on Zorn Avenue, downtown near University Hospital or on a plot of land within 15 miles of downtown. The VA recently sought recommendations for land to purchase if the third option is taken. Facility Planner Bob Morey says a report will soon be released on the viability of the lots that were suggested.

“We went out and looked at the sites and evaluated them and we’re awaiting the final report as far as recommendations for the sites to include in the final steps,” he says.

Morey says he expects a location to be chosen by October of next year. Several local officials have asked the VA to put the hospital near others downtown, but many veterans say that location is too inconvenient.

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New Kosair Medical Center Opening Soon

by Gabe Bullard

The Kosair Children’s Medical Center – Brownsboro will open next week.

Ground was broken on the $50.3 million center in northeastern Jefferson County in March 2009, and the first patients will be admitted on Wednesday. The facility is designed to treat only children and young adults, and is equipped for emergency care, diagnostics and surgery. Center vice president Charlotte Ipsan says about 80 percent of the children in the eastern portion of the Louisville Metro area are sent to adult hospitals.

“It’s very apparent that we need these services in this area, in this end of town,” she says. “[It’s] the fastest growing pediatric population.”

Ipsan says the new medical center will also alleviate some of the patient load for Kosair Children’s Hospital downtown. Both facilities are part of the Norton Healthcare system.

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Officials Still Awaiting VA Hospital Decision

A decision on where to locate a new veterans hospital in Louisville is expected in the near future.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is expected to announce a plan for new facilities in the next few months. Currently, the options are to build a new inpatient center downtown and keep the outpatient center on Zorn Avenue; to build inpatient and outpatient centers downtown; or, to renovate the facilities at Zorn Avenue.

But once a decision is made, VA facility planner Bob Morey says construction won’t begin for some time.

“We still have to do design, and then construction,” he says. “Whenever the decision’s made, it will probably go through some kind of public hearing process.”

Morey says it’s still possible that the VA Secretary could choose an entirely different location for the hospital, as well. The University of Louisville and Metro Government favor a downtown facility because of its proximity to other hospitals. Many veterans say the Zorn Avenue facilities are more convenient and renovating them would saves money.

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VA Holding Seeking Input On Medical Center Locations

The Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a public meeting Monday at 1PM at the Clifton Center to get input on where the VA should put a new medical center in Louisville.

There are three options for the new center. One is to build it next to University of Louisville Hospital. Another is to renovate the existing facility on Zorn Avenue. And the third option is to split services between the two locations.

VA spokesperson Judy Williams says the public will be able to share opinions on all three options at the meeting, and other input has already been sought.

“We did hold a focus group at the medical center and that included veterans, service organizations and other stakeholder representatives,” she says.

The VA secretary will make the final decision on the facility’s location.

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Baptist East Expansion To Open Monday

Starting next week, Eastern Jefferson County will be served by a new medical center.

On Monday, Baptist Hospital East will open Baptist Eastpoint. The new facility is designed for outpatient surgery and urgent care, and will serve Eastern Jefferson County and parts of Oldham County.

Hospital Vice President of Finance Steve Warren says the expansion matches a shift in population.

“We thought at one point in time when we opened Baptist East we were the east end,” he says. “But the east end has moved further out so we felt we had to come out this far.”

The new facility cost $63 million. Warren says Baptist East owns several surrounding acres of land and can expand if the east end continues to grow.