Local/Regional News
7:49 am
Fri November 12, 2010

Possible Merger Would Join U of L Healthcare, Catholic Health Initiatives

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville may now begin more detailed discussions with two other healthcare providers about merging to form a new statewide medical system.

Negotiations on a merger with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary's Healthcare and Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives began in March. The U of L Board of Trustees Thursday moved the talks forward by authorizing a letter of intent. The letter paves the way for the creation of a new healthcare system comprised of all three entities.

The new system's board of directors, name and operating guidelines have yet to be determined, but will be worked out over the next year.

"What our first intent was to complete the letter of intent," says Eugene Woods, CEO of Catholic Health Initiative's Kentucky-based St. Joseph Health System. "The process of selecting the new board is part of the discussions that we'll be having over the next couple months."

University Hospital CEO Jim Taylor says one of the priorities will be to standardize codes of ethics for reproductive health.

"There are other organizations that have merged with Catholic hospitals or Catholic systems and they have found ways to make sure women's services that are needed are available to women," he says.

The proposed merger must also clear several regulatory hurdles. If the merger is approved, Catholic Health Initiatives will invest more than $300 million in the system.