UofL Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. David L. Dunn said at a news conference that neither UofL nor the faculty practice plan are part of the merger, leaving the faculty and administrators free to decide how to provide reproductive services. Dunn and the dean of UofL’s medical school, Dr. Edward Halperin, said a number of options are being considered.
“We are exploring a number of possibilities,” Dunn said. “We’re not prepared to give a specific answer at this point because we are looking for the optimal option to provide care for women’s reproductive health. It may be in existing, renovated facilities or new facilities outside of the merged entity.”
Dunn said $15 million has been set aside as part of the hospital merger deal to address the issue.
Questions have been raised about the continuation of all reproductive services for indigent patients once University Hospital merges with Saint Joseph’s, a hospital system that abides by the tenets of the Catholic Church. Dunn and Halperin said there have been other hospital mergers in which medical, legal and ethical issues arose and ultimately there were solutions to those problems. In this case, both men pledged that UofL will find a way to maintain all services for women who currently go to University Hospital, including the small number of tubal ligations performed immediately following caesarean sections.
“The school and I have made four promises regarding the merger,” Halperin said. “And the first one was that we will continue to provide a full range of reproductive health services, and we will. I have listed for you my 10 issues. We have resolved nine of them. We will resolve the tenth because we say so, because we set the money aside to do so, because we have done our homework and we will keep our word. No one should fear that they will not get the full range of reproductive health services.
“We are a public university,” he said. “We are the people’s university, and we will serve that people from whom our support comes. That’s the bottom line.”