CINCINNATIA judge in Hamilton County, Ohio, mapped out how three hospitals will be cut loose from the six-hospital Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati.
The hospitals470-bed Christ Hospital in Cincinnati; 217-bed St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas, Ky.; and 177-bed St. Luke Hospital West in Florence, Ky.won their freedom in Judge Fred Nelsons courtroom April 16 (April 23, p. 16).
Nelson, in light of the alliances sustained refusal to acknowledge the effect of the Christ and St. Luke terminations, ordered a third-party accounting of Christs and St. Lukes interests in the joint company and their assets and liabilities as of their termination dates last year, as well as the amount of cash and expenses theyve generated since those dates. The alliance also is ordered to pay attorneys fees of $3.3 million to Christ and $1.1 million to St. Luke.
The alliance quickly issued a statement promising to appeal the judges April ruling that the hospitals were within their rights under their joint-operating agreement to quit the alliance and that it had breached its fiduciary duty to them.
The alliance asked Nelson to stay judgment, postponing the reckoning until their appeal runs its course. Nelson is expected to decide June 20 whether to grant the request for a stay. If he declines, the parties will have to find an expert by July 2 to determine who owns what, a process the judge said should take no longer than 90 days.
Christ Hospital spokeswoman Ria Davidson, meanwhile, issued a statement criticizing the alliances intention to carry on the fight. We think an appeal is very ill-advised, both because it lacks merit, and more importantly, because charitable dollars can be better spent on providing patient care than perpetuating this unnecessary and costly litigation.
The feud started early last year when Christs board indicated that they wanted out, complaining that Christ was contributing 40% of the alliances operating income but enjoying a much smaller share of the capital budget.