An eagerly anticipated recommendation could come today from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear regarding the merger of the University of Louisville's hospital with two Kentucky systems affiliated with Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives.
Decision on Kentucky hospital merger anticipated
Beshear said earlier this week he wanted to announce his decision by the end of the year, and today is the last business day before the New Year. A spokeswoman for the governor said Beshear had been waiting for a report from Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who provided the governor with legal counsel Thursday. That report would be made public after the governor makes his announcement, a spokeswoman for Conway's office added. The governor not only could flatly reject or approve the deal, but he could also elect to approve parts of the deal with stipulations.
The $620 million deal would create a 15-hospital system with Jewish Hospital & St Mary's HealthCare in Louisville and St. Joseph Health System in Lexington, Ky. CHI would assume operations of University Hospital. The deal has undergone much scrutiny because some view University Hospital as a public institution and object to it becoming subject to reduced offerings of reproductive services under Roman Catholic doctrine, although the University Hospital has brokered a deal of offer those services off site. The deal still requires the church's approval.
There's also been a lengthy legal battle over whether University Hospital is in fact a public entity. Media outlets, the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Jefferson County attorney all sued for access to merger-related documents, which were eventually made public.
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