After nearly three years of bitter litigation, the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and 511-bed Christ Hospital have reached an agreement on the financial terms of Christ Hospitals departure from the alliance, now a four-hospital system, averting a second trial scheduled to begin Jan. 20.
The parties, which declined to disclose the terms of the deal, were scheduling depositions for the imminent trial as recently as last week. The dispute started in early 2006 when Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, moved to sever its participation in the system, and the following year a judge in Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the hospital had legally withdrawn.
As an appeal by the Health Alliance moved along in the background, the opponents entered talks mediated by the states attorney general, which broke down and prompted Christ Hospital to file a second lawsuit essentially asking the judge to force the alliance to pay what Christ Hospital believed it was due based on the conclusion of the first trial. Also party to the cases were two other former alliance members: 223-bed St. Luke Hospital East, Fort Thomas, Ky., and 161-bed St. Luke Hospital West, Florence, Ky.
In September 2008, the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals sided with the hospitals, and the St. Luke hospitals reached an agreement with the alliance. (For a longer version of this story, please click here.)