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Friday, December 30, 2011

Governor Steve Beshear Makes A Very BOLD Move, Rejects Louisville Hospitals Merger As Not Being In The Public Interest.

Listen to the Governor below:

You may also be interested in reading Jack Conway's report on the merger, and you can read more of the news account below:

University Hospital merger with Jewish, Catholic Health Initiatives rejected by Governor Steve Beshear
Written by Laura Ungar

Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday rejected a controversial merger that would have united three Kentucky hospital companies to create the state’s largest health care system.

“… After exhaustive discussions and research, I have determined that this proposed transaction is not in the best interest of the Commonwealth and therefore should not move forward,” he said in a statement. “In my opinion, the risks to the public outweigh the potential benefits.”

The merger — which cannot proceed without the governor’s blessing — was assailed by critics because a Catholic health system would have had majority ownership of Louisville’s public hospital, and many residents and community leaders expressed concern that reproductive and end-of-life care could be curtailed.

University Hospital, Louisville’s main safety-net hospital for the poor, had hoped to merge with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System in Lexington, owned by Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives.

CHI follows Catholic health directives, and other merger partners agreed not to perform certain procedures banned by the directives: elective abortions; sterilizations; contraceptive dispensing for the purpose of contraception only (except in cases of sexual assault when the victim isn't already pregnant); artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization; and euthanasia.

That raised concerns among many community members and leaders, who also worried about the possibility of more limitations in the future if Catholic directives change.

Beshear said “significant legal and policy concerns” were raised, including Constitutional and public policy questions such as those regarding reproductive care. He also pointed to the potential costs of unwinding the merger if it had gone forward.

“However, most troubling to me is the loss of control of a public asset. University Hospital is a public asset with an important public mission, and if this merger were allowed to happen, U of L and the public would have only indirect and minority influence over the new statewide network’s affairs and its use of state assets. Many of these issues have been raised and analyzed in a report from Attorney General Jack Conway, who recommends not going forward with the merger.”

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