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Jewish, Catholic hospital systems form KentuckyOne

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Merger announced Friday moves on without UofL

By The Staff

Jewish Hospital Shelbyville is now part of a new company – KentuckyOne Health.

A new merger between Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System was announced Friday, completing the months long saga of a merger that once would have included the University of Louisville Hospital.

But after Gov. Steve Beshear announced Friday that he would not allow the merger because it placed a public facility – UofL – into a private consortium that included religious facilities.

Critics have complained about the merger because of the Catholic church’s tenets that could dictate health coverage in areas involving reproductive services and end-of-life decisions to name two.

Concerns about that influence was a factor in the decision by Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway, who previously had denied approval of the merger.

The Jewish and Saint Joseph systems revealed the new brand and installed new leadership during their press conference Friday.

KentuckyOne Health is a nonprofit charitable organization that includes hospitals, clinics, specialty institutes, home health agencies, satellite primary care centers and physician groups with more than 80 locations, 2,500 staff physicians and more than 13,000 employees across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana.

Its release said that it would maintain historically Jewish facilities as Jewish – including Jewish Hospital Shelbyville – and historically Catholic facilities will remain Catholic.

“This is an historic day for the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Bob Hewett, chair of the board for KentuckyOne Health, said in a press release. “The people of Kentucky face significant health threats, not just from disease, but also from issues related to access to preventive and advanced medical care and a severe shortage of physicians.

“We believe that this new health system will make for a healthier Kentucky.”

Hewett introduced Ruth W. Brinkley, 59, as the president and chief executive officer of the new organization. She is a former executive at Ascension Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, which assumes controlling interest in the new organization.

“Ruth Brinkley has the experience and the vision to lead this new organization into the future,” Hewett said. “She brings valuable executive experience in a national system as well as academic medical centers and community hospitals.

“Ruth’s background shows a proven track record in improving the health care delivery system to better serve people and communities.”

Said Brinkley in the release: “The organizations have come together as KentuckyOne Health because they recognize that continuing to function as we have is not going to solve the issues. We must change to more effectively meet the health needs of those we serve.”

The release said that Catholic Health Initiatives would invest $320 million to launch KentuckyOne Health and that the new system plans to invest in an integrated electronic health record system and other IT improvements plus make additional facility, equipment and telehealth investments in communities across the state.