Wednesday November 23, 2011
The Louisville Metro Board of Health today issued findings and recommendations on the proposed merger between University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish & St. Mary’s Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives.
“The issue of the hospital merger has raised numerous questions,” said William Altman, Board of Health chairman. “While all of the questions merit answers, only matters of public health are within the purview of the Board of Health and were considered in our report. We looked to our mission as well as to public health knowledge, core values, and functions to guide us in this process.”
The Board’s report notes that many questions were raised by the community about access to health services, including reproductive health services, end of life care, and health benefits for employees. The report concludes that based on assurances made by merger representatives “the majority of services in question will continue to be provided and made available to the community. However, in certain circumstances the manner and location of these services will change and this raises potential health access and health equity concerns.”
“When access and equity concerns are raised, the threshold for assuring access to care is heightened,” said Gabriela Alcalde, Board vice chair. “It is the responsibility of the Board to be part of a process to assure that these issues are addressed in the actual delivery of service.”
The Board of Health’s key recommendation is that if the merger is approved and implemented, a mechanism for monitoring and evaluation needs to be developed.
“Monitoring and evaluation would assure that commitments made by the merging entities in regard to continuing and expanding the current level of services are carried out in the manner proposed,” Alcalde added. “It also ensures that no group of people in the community experiences a decrease in access to health services or is inequitably affected by changes brought about by the merger.”
Additional findings and the Board of Health’s complete report is available by clicking here
The Louisville Metro Board of Health acts as an independent voice to promote and protect equitable physical, mental, and environmental health in the Louisville community through advocacy, education, regulation, and collaboration with public and private entities.