Board of Health Issues Statement on Governor’s Merger Decision
Friday December 30, 2011
The Louisville Metro Board of Health has issued the following statement on Governor Steve Beshear's decision to deny the merger between University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish & St. Mary’s Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives.
The Board of Health just learned of the Governor's decision regarding the hospital merger and has not yet had an opportunity to review the decision or the Attorney General's opinion.
Board Chairman William Altman stated: "When the Board first raised questions about the merger, our focus was not on whether the merger should be approved or rejected but instead on the important public health, access and equity issues raised by the merger. We also acted on our commitment to give voice to the community's perspective on important public health issues, such as the merger. While Governor Beshear has decided that the merger may not proceed, some of the important public health issues raised during this process remain and need to be addressed. Specifically, our community's ability to continue to provide necessary care for the indigent is a public health priority."
The Board previously issued a report on the merger and called for monitoring mechanisms to ensure access and health equity should the merger proceed. The Board also recommended that an ongoing mechanism exist in the Louisville community to assess community health needs and to assure continued access to key health and public health services whenever major changes occur to Louisville's health care system.
"The fact that the proposed merger will not proceed requires the Louisville community to redouble its efforts to come together, assess health care gaps and needs, and to consider innovative ways to fill those gaps at this time of major changes," said Board Vice Chair Gabriela Alcalde. "Based on the rich dialogue the community has had with respect to the merger, Louisville is well-positioned in terms of recognizing the importance of addressing health access and equity issues in our city. We should build on this dialogue to meet the challenges that face us."
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. Learn more about the Board of Health at www.louisvilleky.gov/health.