Kentucky's two largest children's hospitals will partner to improve pediatric care across the state.
The Kentucky Children's Hospital at the University of Kentucky and Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville have signed a letter of intent to join forces; they will spend the next few months figuring out the details, officials announced Thursday.
"It will fill multiple needs," Michael Karpf, executive vice-president for health affairs at UK, said in a phone interview. "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."
UK is already in a partnership with Norton HealthCare, which owns Kosair. Officials said the partnership could allow more recruitment of pediatric specialists, develop additional outreach clinics around the state, and develop a statewide network of perinatal and neonatal care providers.
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Karpf said the announcement was unrelated to the recent controversy over the Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatric cardiothoracic surgery department, which stopped doing surgeries last year. Under public pressure this month, UK released the unit's mortality rates, which showed that 5.8 percent of patients in UK's Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery program died from 2008 to 2012,
Karpf said most of the pediatric cardiothoracic patients were referred to Kosair's when the surgeries were suspended.
UK is finishing up an internal review of the program, Karpf said.