On Tuesday, June 14, officials of three major Kentucky health care organizations, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare, University Hospital/James Graham Brown Cancer Center and Lexington-based St. Joseph Health System, announced that their boards have formally approved plans to form a health care delivery system to meet the needs of all of the people of Kentucky and beyond.
The partnership agreement must still receive regulatory and church approvals before becoming effective, which could take 12 months. In the interim, the partners will continue to operate as separate organizations. Officials confirmed that the various facilities involved including the University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital, Frazier Rehab Institute and James Graham Brown Cancer Center would retain their names.
“I see this proposed merger as a yet another significant way for the Jewish Hospital organization to further the founders’ original mission to provide the highest quality health care to ‘persons of any creed’ in our community,” said Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services Board Chair Gerald Temes, M.D. “When the agreement is finalized, the new entity will have a statewide geographic reach and include hospitals, clinics, specialty institutions, home health agencies, satellite primary care centers and physician groups with 91 locations combined.”
He was clear that Jewish Hospital will maintain its Jewish identity in Louisville and emphasizes “the partners are committed to respecting each other’s respective traditions and are working to develop a shared culture.”
Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare Board Chair LouAnn Atlas echoed Temes’ words by saying the new health system “will combine the faith-based and academic heritages of all the partners, integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care.” She added, “The network will collaborate with all health care providers, enhancing existing relationships and developing new partnerships.”
According to the partners, the integration provides the opportunity to efficiently move research from bench to bedside and improve health care outcomes. Plans call for expanding Louisville’s academic medical center to include the University of Louisville Hospital, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Jewish Hospital and Frazier Rehab Institute and extending the University’s research and teaching programs statewide through an academic affiliation agreement with the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
The new system will bring together academic and community physicians and create a medical staff of more than 3,000 physicians across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Through the use of technology – especially telemedicine – network physicians will have expanded access to specialty care that had been unavailable previously.
Sponsors of the health system are Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services, University of Louisville and Catholic Health Initiatives, a national nonprofit health organization based in Denver, Colo. Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare was formed in 2005 as a joint venture between Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI). St. Joseph Health System is also a part of CHI.
Plans call for CHI to make an incremental capital investment of $320 million to support the as yet unnamed new system’s mission and health care services statewide. In addition, the new system will invest $200 million to expand Louisville’s academic medical center and $100 million in health care services statewide.