Local News

Report Highlights Limitations of Hospital Merger

For months, the University of Louisville has been in merger talks with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare and Catholic Health Initiatives. Mergers involving Catholic institutions often raise concerns about reproductive health issues, since the religion is opposed to many procedures that could affect birth control.

U of L will maintain medical facilities that are not affected by the merger, and previously, school officials said those offices would provide services that are frowned upon or banned by the Catholic Church.

But a report in the Courier-Journal uncovers the fact that some procedures, such as tubal ligations, can’t conveniently be moved.

Local News

Hospital Merger Talks Continue, Ethics Among Issues To Be Resolved

Reproductive health issues are among the many topics that will likely be discussed over the next year as three area healthcare providers prepare to merge.

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The University of Louisville is in talks to create a statewide medical network with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare and Catholic Health Initiatives. Groups such as Planned Parenthood have protested similar mergers between secular and religious institutions, saying Catholic doctrines can threaten contraceptive counseling, vasectomies, in vitro fertilization or other reproductive issues.

U of L School of Medicine Dean Dr. Edward Halperin is confident any conflicts can be resolved.

“These mergers have had to deal with providing comprehensive services to patients along with the ethical and religious directors of the Catholic Church,” he says. “I believe these issues are eminently solvable and that an appropriate accommodation will be reached in Louisville.”

Dr. Halperin says, as a public institution, U of L has certain obligations to the public it must maintain. The merger is still in the early stages and will likely take more than a year for an agreement to be drafted and approved by state and federal regulators

Local News

U Of L Board Authorizes Initial Step In Healthcare Merger

The University of Louisville may now begin more detailed discussions with two other healthcare providers about merging to form a new statewide medical system.

Negotiations on a merger with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare and Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives began in March. The U of L Board of Trustees Thursday moved the talks forward by authorizing a letter of intent. The letter paves the way for the creation of a new healthcare system comprised of all three entities.

The new system’s board of directors, name and operating guidelines have yet to be determined, but will be worked out over the next year.

“What our first intent was to complete the letter of intent,” says Eugene Woods, CEO of Catholic Health Initiative’s Kentucky-based St. Joseph Health System. “The process of selecting the new board is part of the discussions that we’ll be having over the next couple months.”

University Hospital CEO Jim Taylor says one of the priorities will be to standardize codes of ethics for reproductive health.

“There are other organizations that have merged with Catholic hospitals or Catholic systems and they have found ways to make sure women’s servers that are needed are available to women,” he says.

The proposed merger must also clear several regulatory hurdles. If the merger is approved, Catholic Health Initiatives will invest more than 300 million dollars in the system.