The merger, which would create Kentucky’s largest health-care system, still needs the approval of Gov. Steve Beshear and the Catholic Church. “We have a public institution with a public mission that has been supported by the public dollars and public leadership for many years,” said state auditor Crit Luallen. “And we have to look at how a merger with a religious organization changes the public’s access and the public’s protection.” (Read more)
Since the merger between Jewish Hospital, University Medical Center and Saint Joseph Health Systems will prevent female patients from getting their tubes tied there — because St. Joseph is owned by a Catholic-based parent company — Baptist Hospital East will provide a facility where University of Louisville doctors can perform the procedure.
“This will ensure our ability to provide reproductive services for our patients after the merger occurs,” said Dr. David Dunn, U of L executive vice president for health affairs, addressing perhaps the largest single concern about the merger. University Hospital CEO James Taylor called it a “very small” compromise. “We compromised only a location, not a population.”
Through a $15 million fund “that will be set aside from the assets of University Hospital and given to U of L for that purpose once the merger closes,” uninsured women will be able to have tubal ligations at Baptist, whether they’re being done after giving birth via C-section or vaginally, reports Patrick Howington of The Courier-Journal. They can also be done even if the procedure is unrelated to childbirth. University of Hospital performed 301 tubal ligations last year.
University Hospital has historically provided care for indigent patients who cannot afford to get care elsewhere. Because these patients are not wealthy enough to choose which hospital they go to, they have no choice but to adhere to Catholic directives. Though the issue of female sterilization has been addressed, there is still the issue of how end-of-life care will be handled at University Hospital. That includes how living wills and the removal of a feeding tube will be dealt with.