The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati failed to persuade an appeals court to reverse a lower courts 2007 decision that three of its member hospitals were within their rights to withdraw from the system, and the new ruling could nudge the parties toward finally resolving a legal struggle that started in early 2006.
The record shows that TCH's (Christ Hospital) board determined in good faith that the alliance had jeopardized TCHs ability to fulfill its charitable mission, Judge Ralph Winkler wrote for the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals. Alliance spokesman Tony Condia said the systems board has 45 days to decide whether to ask the Ohio Supreme Court to review the case.
In September, the alliance announced a memorandum of understanding outlining the terms of separation with St. Luke Hospitals223-bed St. Luke Hospital East, Fort Thomas, Ky., and 161-bed St. Luke Hospital West, Florence, Ky. St. Luke had joined 511-bed Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, in seeking withdrawal from the system, a decision likewise affirmed by the appeals courts opinion.
After a previous round of mediation broke down last summer, Christ Hospital filed a second lawsuit seeking damages for the alliances breach of fiduciary duty that the judge confirmed in the 2007 trial. A trial date for the pending case has been set for Jan. 20, 2009. We are hopeful the supportive ruling by the court in favor of Christ Hospital moves us closer to resolving this issue, Christ Hospital spokeswoman Heather Adkins said in an e-mail. -- by Gregg Blesch