UofL, Jewish, CHI agree to sign letter of intent to form statewide health network
The University Of Louisville Board Of Trustees has endorsed a letter of intent that marks the next level of planning for a merger among UofL, University of Louisville Hospital/James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare, Catholic Health Initiatives and its Kentucky-based operation, Saint Joseph Health System. Over the past three weeks, the governing boards of the other organizations approved similar motions.
The letter of intent follows nearly eight months of discussions and represents the next step toward the eventual creation of an integrated, comprehensive statewide health care network to ensure high quality health care close to where Kentuckians live.
When finalized, the new entity will:
- Have statewide geographic reach
- Include a capital investment by Catholic Health Initiatives exceeding $300 million throughout Kentucky
- Expand the academic medical center in Louisville to include the University of Louisville Hospital, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Jewish Hospital and Frazier Rehab Institute
- Extend UofL research and teaching programs statewide
- Be governed by a community board of trustees representing the commonwealth that will have fiduciary responsibilities
One of the first objectives for the partners was to create a vision that would guide their discussions and serve as a foundation of mutual respect. That vision follows:
We are the premier, integrated comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth known for efficiently providing the highest quality care and service close to home; reducing the incidence of disease; and eliminating inequities in access throughout the communities we serve. With unmatched geographic reach, we are differentiated by our faith-based and academic heritage, developing the best next generation of healthcare professionals, and for being the fastest in translating research from bench to bedside. Because we are the most vital nationally recognized health system, we are the go-to organization for any major health policy initiatives in the State.
Since the beginning of these talks, the organizations have explored many subjects including, governance, the role of academic medicine in a new entity, similarities of purpose among the parties, and more. During the past several months the organizations have discussed how to best serve the current and future health care needs of Kentucky. As part of a new model of health care, the organizations are developing plans to address:
- Changes brought by health care reform
- Addressing the needs of medically underserved communities
- Health challenges faced by Kentuckians, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and stroke
- Innovative uses of medical research and technology, such as telemedicine
- Continuing the historic commitment of providing medical services to economically disadvantaged citizens of the commonwealth
- Training of medical professionals and the physician shortage
Combined, the organizations will bring together more than 3,000 physicians and have more than 90 locations in Kentucky with combined revenues of more than $2 billion. Extending care throughout the state is a significant principle behind the groups’ efforts. The federal government estimates that the state will be short 3,000 physicians by 2020. Growing the educational and training opportunities for new physicians also will be part of the discussions.
While the discussions regarding this partnership are moving into another phase, much work needs to be accomplished before any final decisions are made. There are still unaddressed regulatory issues and a need to develop business and operational plans. All the organizations believe there is enough commonality to continue developing plans and will work toward a definitive agreement. A definitive agreement typically concludes within 12 months.