The media and ACLU requested documents pertaining to 318-bed University Hospital's pending $620 million merger with 462-bed Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare in Louisville and St. Joseph Health System in Lexington, with the latter affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver. Officials had until last week to appeal the ruling or disclose the records. They filed the suit Friday with the Jefferson County Circuit Court.
University Hospital attorneys argue disclosure of the documents would place the three hospitals at a competitive disadvantage and cited confidentiality agreements between the parties involved as they deem it's a confidential business transaction. However, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway vowed to scrutinize the deal, as the state provided land to University Hospital, which is linked to the University of Louisville, a state-supported school.
The ACLU's Sharp said in an e-mail that he had yet to be served with the lawsuit, and couldn't comment. There are concerns about limited reproductive services under the Roman Catholic doctrine. Jewish Hospital will no longer offer services, with doctors diverting patients to Baptist Hospital East in Louisville, which will offer some.
In an interview last month with Modern Healthcare, University Hospital CEO James Taylor said the attorney general's actions didn't sit well with him: “We disagreed with the ruling before he issued his opinion,”
Taylor pointed to a 2006 decision that ruled his hospital as a private facility. The merger is the only way all three hospitals could maintain services, he added. Those who didn't believe that and wanted to block the deal hold a “naïve way of looking at it.” Officials from the other two parties involved in the merger said they would not comment until the deal finalized.