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There's been a lot of controversy over the planned merger of University Hospital with Catholic Health Initiatives. And most of it has involved the fear that Catholic doctrine will determine many medical decisions at publicly-funded University in the future.
I think that's a valid concern that certainly needs more scrutiny. But I'm also disturbed by another aspect of the deal that I think is even more basic:
Specifically, that under the deal, publicly-funded University Hospital's new primary owner will be a private non-profit organization – one that's not even located in Kentucky!
Does that make sense to anyone?
This is Louisville's public hospital – built with tax money and heavily subsidized by tens of millions of dollars from the city and state annually. Can residents expect to share in the proceeds from this transfer through hefty tax rebates? Who gave U of L the right to bargain away such a major public asset without any community input or government oversight? And what, exactly, are the benefits local residents can expect to realize from this transaction that wouldn't otherwise be possible?
I'm uneasy about the clandestine manner in which this deal appears to have gone down. And I think Louisvillians have every right to ask what's really in it for us.