Gov. Beshear still won't approve U of L Hospital merger - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gov. Beshear still won't approve U of L Hospital merger

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, after a meeting Monday with University of Louisville Hospital representatives, says he still has too many concerns about a proposed merger to approve it.

"Last week, University representatives offered us some ideas to address our concerns about the original proposed merger partnership. Attorney General Conway and I have carefully evaluated those ideas, but found that they will not satisfy our concerns about the merger proposal," says Beshear

U of L Hospital's President and CEO told reporters late Monday afternoon he is shocked by the governor's refusal to allow the merger.  Jim Taylor says Beshear shows a lack of care for the people of Kentucky. "Over the next few years. it is inevitable we will have to begin to limit peoples' access."

Taylor says it takes $50-million to keep UofL Hospital running. But he's also asking asking for a one time infusion of funds between $350 - $550 million. He says without state funding, it is inevitable reductions in service will occur. "We are unable to generate the capital required to maintain ourselves and to grow. We're not a good lending risk, so we can't generate it operationally and we can't borrow it."

Taylor says 25% of the patients at inner-city hospital serves can not pay, often leaving that burden to the hospital.

Jewish Hospital and Saint Mary's Healthcare merged with Saint Joseph Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives last week.  They now form Kentucky's largest health care system, known as KentuckyOne Health.

Taylor says it is possible University Hospital could partner with KentuckyOne instead of merging with the new group. "It certainly won't bring the same kind of capital infusion. It won't bring the same opportunity…but it may be a reasonable alternative.

University of Louisville Healthcare was left out of the merger after Governor Steve Beshear rejected University's involvement, raising concerns about private ownership of a public hospital. "I think we've been pushed away from the table," says Taylor.

There were also questions about whether the deal would prohibit certain reproductive procedures from taking place at U of L Hospital because they go against Catholic doctrine.

Click here for more details of the merger.

Beshear said that he and Attorney General Jack Conway want to see U of L Hospital continue providing quality health care and remain stable financially.  But he also called it "a facility with significant strengths, noting a report that its profits in 2010 tripled to almost $13 million.

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