LOUISVILLE — University Hospital in Louisville will soon start searching for a new partner, six weeks after Gov. Steve Beshear rejected a proposed merger with a Catholic health care system.
The University of Louisville trustees voted Thursday to give the university and University Medical Center Inc., the hospital's operator, permission to issue a request for proposals aimed at attracting interest from other health care entities that could stabilize the finances of the area's main safety-net hospital.
Dr. David Dunn, U of L executive vice president for health affairs, told The Courier-Journal the request will be issued in the "near future."
"What we're hoping for is to find a health system that UMC and U of L can work with," Dunn said, adding that finding such a partner ultimately is "very" critical.
University Hospital had hoped to merge with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System. Beshear shot down that proposal Dec. 30, citing legal and policy problems, such as loss of control of University Hospital as a public asset and constitutional church-and-state issues. Jewish & St. Mary's and St. Joseph announced they were merging without University Hospital, leaving University facing an uncertain future.
U of L spokesman Gary Mans said the request, to be issued under state procurement policies, would likely be broadly written to allow system leaders to consider a range of partners, alliances or relationships.
Former U of L trustee and critic of the rejected merger plan Jessica Loving said the conditions for being a partner should include maintaining it as a public institution and guaranteeing at least the same level of medical care.