U of L partners with KentuckyOne

LOUISVILLE — The University of Louisville announced a partnership Wednesday with KentuckyOne Health, the entity created this year with the merger of Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare in Louisville and Lexington-based Saint Joseph Health System.

"This new relationship expands our resources into a statewide network," James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville, said in a statement.

"That allows our students to have additional training opportunities and our faculty to be able to extend access to clinical trials to more people who may benefit, while at the same time extending the research opportunities."

KentuckyOne Health was initially to have included University of Louisville Hospital, but Gov. Steve Beshear denied that request, calling the hospital a public asset that should not be controlled by the private sector.

Under the announced partnership, KentuckyOne Health "will oversee most of the day-to-day operations" of the U of L hospital, according to a statement. However, the hospital will continue to own the assets involved and will also operate its Center for Women and Infants.

Those terms address two key concerns in the past merger idea. The first was whether the merger, which would have placed the hospital under the control of Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, would have violated the separation of church and state.

The second was concern that the hospital would have no longer performed tubal ligations to prevent pregnancy because of the Catholic Church's opposition to sterilization.

Attorney General Jack Conway's office reviewed the merger plan and had recommended against it.

In a statement Wednesday, Conway said his staff reviewed this partnership "and it appears to address the concerns raised."

"This partnership will help University Hospital secure financial stability, protect care for the indigent and continue the excellent research and teaching that is conducted at our hospital," Conway said.