FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Three big named hospitals are one step closer to merging together after a meeting at the State Capitol. State representatives and senators asked Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville, to speak to the Health and Welfare Joint Committee. They fired questions at him, many about women's reproductive procedures and concerns that the Catholic Health Initiatives might invoke religious views on patients at University Hospital.
Ramsey says this merger is crucial for the teaching program at the hospital to grow and to be able to afford to help people who don't have insurance.
"It would result in an infusion of $320 million of new funds into our state with $200 million of that coming to the University of Louisville to support our teaching and research programs," said Ramsey.
Ramsey told the committee the merger would help improve the quality of health care, and it will be a financial benefit.
The merger would connect UofL Hospital, Jewish and St. Mary's Healthcare, and St. Joseph Health System. Some local elected officials are skeptical about the details.
"I have not had one email or one letter in support of this," said Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Jefferson County).
Legislators questioned how much influence the catholic faith will have on restricting reproduction services like for women who want their tubes tied.
"A tubal ligation as a sole procedure can be scheduled at a outside facility, so that would be outside of the merged facility," said Dr. Sharmila K. Makhija at the University of Louisville.
Individuals also filled the room from healthcare providers to concerned citizens, who say they aren't against the merger, just upset that there isn't more transparency in the process.