September 13, 2012

Board of Trustees meets again for hospital merger negotiations

By James El-Mallakh–

The University of Louisville board of trustees held a closed-door meeting to discuss the ongoing negotiations with potential partners to merge with University Hospital. The board members were given “information associated with the selection of a partner for the University of Louisville and University Medical Center,” said Gary Mans, a spokesperson for U of L.

There are several potential merger partners the university is in negotiations with, according to an article on the university’s news website, U of L Today. No final decisions were made at the meeting.

The university has not disclosed what potential partners the university is negotiating with. Mans said, “State Procurement rules prevent me from providing any detail.”

The rules that Mans is citing are the rules according to the Request for Proposal process. Kentucky law prevents the negotiating parties from revealing their identities or how many negotiating parties are involved.

The meeting that took place on Sept. 5 is the second closed-door meeting that the U of L board has had in two weeks to discuss the negotiations regarding potential merger partners. The previous meeting was held on Aug. 30.

The expected date for a final decision on University Hospital’s merger partner is Sept. 28. However, that deadline is flexible and can be pushed back.

Dr. David Dunn, the executive vice president for health affairs, said that a partner is needed for University hospital to assist in terms of finance and operations.

The university began accepting proposals from merger partners in February. University Hospital was expected to merge with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System in December but that deal was rejected by Gov. Steve Beshear. In a press release, the governor stated his concerns were “the influence of a religious entity on a publicly-owned institution, especially regarding reproductive issues” and “the loss of control of a public asset.” Beshear’s approval will also be necessary for a future merger.

No other items of discussion were on the agenda for the board’s meeting. The next board meeting will be held on Sept. 13.

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Photo: Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal

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