Ky. AG to review proposed hospital merger

Nick Rees Jul. 21, 2011, 2:23pm


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - A planned merger between the University of Louisville Hospital and two private hospital companies will face a review from Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

Conway's review of the proposed merger of the university hospital with the Louisville, Ky.-based Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and the Lexington, Ky.-based Saint Joseph Health System, both a part of the Denver-based Catholic Health Initiative, seeks to ensure that consumers and taxpayers are protected, reports.

"We're going to take a look at what role we have - if any," Conway said in an interview, according to "I think that as the state's chief consumer protection official it's appropriate for me to ask some questions."

Conway is seeking additional information on the role that Catholic Health Initiatives would play in healthcare policy decisions at the university, which is a public teaching hospital and serves as a safety net for poor patients in the area.

According to a Sunday Courier-Journal report, following the merger, University and other hospitals involved in the merger would no longer perform tubal ligations as a means of prevent pregnancy.

Conway has raised questions about the policy and other issues of the merge, which would result in Catholic Health Initiatives owning 70 percent of the new organization. The hospital systems involved in the merge have said that they would comply with healthcare directives against sterilizations, abortions and other reproductive procedures.

Spokespeople for the merging hospitals have said that they will cooperate with Conway, answering any questions he has.

"We think that the merger is going to expand access greatly to needed healthcare services and improve the overall health of Kentuckians across the state," Mary Elise Biegert,, a spokesperson for Catholic Health Initiatives, said. "And if the attorney general is going to look into the transaction, we will fully cooperate with him."

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