Ky. Children's Hospitals Announce Partnership

Aug 23, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Officials at the state's two children's hospitals have announced their intent to form a partnership.

The Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader report officials at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville and the University of Kentucky HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington said on Thursday that they have signed a letter of intent.

"We can do more together than we can do separately," said Stephen Williams, who is the chief executive officer of Norton Healthcare, which owns Kosair. "There are certain services we'll be able to do better."

Officials said a partnership is expected to help the hospitals to recruit more pediatric specialists, open more outreach clinics and develop a statewide network of doctors who provide perinatal and neonatal care for high-risk mothers and babies.

"It will fill multiple needs," said Michael Karpf, executive vice-president for health affairs at UK. "It will allow us to compete with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. It will give us the ability to leverage both institutions in multiple areas."

The partnership will allow the state to have a more comprehensive children's hospital network with broader programs and services.

Hospital officials said they will work over the next few months on specific plans for how to coordinate and integrate clinical operations, but most services will remain in their current locations.

The hospitals will maintain separate staffs and have separate bylaws and rules and regulations, officials said.

"We're not consolidating medical staffs. It's not a threat to anyone," Williams said.

On Friday, the University of Louisville said the partnership could jeopardize U of L's relationship with Norton. U of L Health Sciences Center spokesman Gary Mans said officials are still deciding what steps to take.

The facilities will share resources and become more efficient, which is encouraged by the federal Affordable Care Act. The collaboration is expected to be finalized by early next year.

"We want to provide the best care in the most efficient way possible," Karpf said. "That's where medicine is going."