January 10, 2012 — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) on Monday released a statement reaffirming his rejection of a proposed merger between University of Louisville Hospital and Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System, whose parent company is Catholic Health Initiatives, Modern Healthcare reports (Selvam, Modern Healthcare, 1/9). Beshear and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) met with University Hospital officials on Monday to address why they both objected to the merger (Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal, 1/7).
University Hospital's participation in the merger required the governor's approval. In a news release earlier in January, Beshear expressed concern about the potential influence of a religious entity on reproductive issues. "After exhaustive discussions and research, I have determined that this proposed transaction is not in the best interest of the commonwealth and therefore should not move forward," he said, adding, "In my opinion the risks to the public outweigh the potential benefits" (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/5). Beshear also expressed concern that the deal would cause the state to lose control of University Hospital, which he called a valuable public asset (Wall Street Journal, 1/7).
According to Modern Healthcare, hospital officials have argued that the facility needs an investor to continue operating. However, Beshear noted that the hospital had $13 million in profit in 2010, adding, "University Hospital is clearly a facility with significant strengths."
Conway said in a statement, "I believe Gov. Beshear made the appropriate decision to protect the commonwealth's interests, and I am committed to working with the University of Louisville to ensure the hospital's future as a leading healthcare innovator and treatment center" (Modern Healthcare, 1/9).
In the meantime, the remaining two systems have moved forward with the merger, the Denver Business Journal reports (Green, Denver Business Journal, 1/6).