Ramsey and Taylor discussed the proposed merger of University Hospital, Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare and CHI/Saint Joseph Health System with about 30 members of the Louisville Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition at a meeting at Simmons College on Tuesday, Aug. 24.
Ramsey told the ministers that he hoped to dispel some of the myths and misinformation surrounding the merger.
While the university and its medical school aren’t a part of the merger, Ramsey said UofL faculty will still be staffing University Hospital, providing quality care and doing research on Kentucky’s pressing health care problems.
Taylor pointed out that University Hospital’s commitment to serving the underserved “has not changed and will not change with the merger.” About 21 percent of the hospital’s patients have no insurance and, Taylor said, without an infusion of capital from the merger, University Hospital may have to cut services in the near future. Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is pledging $320 million in investments in the downtown medical center and community programs as part of the merger.
Edward Halperin, dean of the School of Medicine, also was at the coalition meeting and responded to questions about women’s reproductive health issues.
Halperin said the only women who will see a change following the merger are those who want a tubal ligation following a delivery. University Hospital will respect the Catholic Church directive barring sterilizations, meaning the women and their UofL doctor will deliver the baby and the tubal ligation will be performed in another hospital or health care facility. State law requires 24 hours notice to have a tubal ligation so, as Halperin told the group “there’s no such thing as an emergency tubal.”
The president of the Coalition, Frank Smith of Christ’s Church for our Community, called it an “excellent discussion” noting that the group always appreciates hearing directly from Ramsey.
The ministers will be “prayerful” regarding the hospital merger, will “do whatever we can to support” UofL and expect the dialogue to continue between the groups, Smith said.