U of L doctors wary of KentuckyOne’s promise of autonomy

Doctors at Louisville’s University Hospital are expressing concerns that the partnership with KentuckyOne Health and the Catholic health rules that come with that merger might affect patient care. Assurances that their concerns are unfounded have been coming from KentuckyOne’s majority owner, Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives. Anxiety over doctors’ medical freedom to treat patients as they feel is necessary is being fueled as staff and physicians are being asked to “respect” Catholic health directives, The Courier-Journal reports.

Sheila Reynertson, advocacy coordinator for the New York-based MergerWatch Project, who tracks secular-religious hospital mergers, told The C-J’s Laura Ungar that such language puts doctors in “a difficult position.”

For instance, she explains, “cancer doctors may wonder about prescribing birth control to prevent pregnancy, she said.

Catholic directives include a ban on sterilization, abortions, and euthanasia and say Catholic health institutions can’t “promote or condone contraceptive practices.”

Gary Mans, spokesman for the U of L Health Sciences Center, said he doesn’t believe doctors and staff will feel constrained by the directives. (Read more)

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