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UofL hospital partnership announcement expected this morning

By Lorie Hailey

University of Louisville Hospital

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 14, 2012) — It is expected that a hospital partnership or merger agreement will be announced this morning at a news conference called by the University of Louisville and University Medical Center.

Gov. Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and UofL officials will be on hand for the news conference.

UofL has been seeking a partner for several years. As a standalone, innercity hospital, it needs a partner with capital, a wider geographic reach and that can create efficiencies in back-office operations, said Jim Taylor, president and CEO of University Hospital.

Late in 2011, University Hospital agreed to merge with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Health Care in Louisville and Lexington-based St. Joseph Health System in a deal that included affiliation with deep-pocketed Catholic Health Initiatives in Denver. CHI’s involvement carried a $320 million infusion of capital.

Gov. Steve Beshear twice rejected the plan because of the religious affiliations it would create for the public entity.

Carrying on without University Hospital, CHI in January merged St. Joseph with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare to form KentuckyOne, claiming the title of largest healthcare system in the state.

It was back to the drawing board for University Hospital, however. The university hired a consultant, formed a committee and conducted a public process to evaluate whether the issues the board saw in 2007 and 2008 still existed.

“They came to the same conclusion: The status quo was not an option,” Taylor said.

In February, the board issued a Request for Proposals soliciting a five-year deal for a partner with “capabilities, experience and commitment to include but not be limited to: critical care, facilities/operations, teaching/training and research.” Confidentiality terms are part of the RFP, as were plans to conclude it by last April 16.

As little as three weeks ago, university officials hinted that a deal with unnamed respondents could be announced soon. In October, the UofL Board of Trustees authorized Executive Vice President For Health Affairs Dr. David Dunn to complete negotiations and finalize an agreement.

Check www.lanereport.com later today for updates on the announcement.