‘Risky’ Business: UofL to take over Jewish Hospital

Some relieved with purchase of KentuckyOne Health

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In a move aimed at saving struggling Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville announced Wednesday that it will acquire KentuckyOne Health’s local assets.

Led by UofL President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, the deal is a complicated one, one that Bendapudi acknowledged at a news conference Wednesday morning was “risky.”

According to a statement UofL released Wednesday, UofL will acquire:

+ Jewish Hospital, including the Outpatient Center, Rudd Heart and Lung Center, offices and parking garages

+ Frazier Rehab Institute

+ Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital

+ Our Lady of Peace hospital

+ Jewish Hospital Shelbyville

+ Jewish Medical Centers East, Northeast, South and Southwest

+ Physician groups affiliated with KentuckyOne

Bendapudi announced in February that the university was looking for a partner to help provide financial support to keep such a large employer and health-care provider afloat. In June, she announced there were no takers, and that the school’s bid to purchase Jewish was dead.

But Wednesday brought signs of hope that the hospital might be saved.

University of Louisville buys KentuckyOne Health

“We are proud to protect that legacy and to ensure the continuation of that care as we acquire and enhance these facilities,” she said.

Bendapudi added that Jewish Hospital is too important to the community to let it slip away, and it became a race against the clock to prevent it from happening.

“It was only around August 1 that we learned for a fact that there would be a deal, that the deal would include a couple of these properties, so we all knew that we didn’t have a lot of time,” she said. “Step up and act now, or it will be too late.”

The tentative deal is expected to be finalized Nov. 1. Here’s how it is going to work:

+ The university will pay $10 million to acquire the assets from KentuckyOne’s parent company, CommonSpirit Health.

+ KentuckyOne and other affiliates are on the hook for approximately $76 million in “working capital” and other assets. The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence also has committed $10 million to UofL, and the Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare Foundation will invest $40 million in quarterly payments of $2.5 million over the next four years.

+ Too, state lawmakers will vote early next year on a $50 million loan to UofL. Should it be approved, a portion of it -- perhaps half -- will be considered “forgivable,” depending on several factors.

+ CommonSpirit Health will forgive nearly $20 million in outstanding debt from UofL.

“UofL’s acquisition of the KentuckyOne facilities will maintain more than 5,000 jobs in the healthcare sector and ensure that our healthcare delivery system in Metro Louisville is preserved,” said Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who also spoke at Wednesday’s news conference.

Bevin also said there was private interest in taking over, but none of the private proposals would have come close to doing what the state wanted to see done.

“They were not done in ways that were going to give confidence to us that the 5,500 employees, that the nearly $300 million in payroll, and the 900 doctors and physicians that are the backbone for everything that we’re talking about, were going to be cared for,” he said.

For relieved patients, the deal means treatment will not be interrupted, and the burdensome task of looking elsewhere for care has been avoided.

“If I can’t come up here, I’d have to find someplace else to go,” patient Jack Scheser said.

“I won’t have to make any drastic changes right now,” patient Arvel Carroll said.

A ripple effect is felt throughout the medical community.

A statement from Passport Health Plan’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stephen Houghland, praised the deal on behalf of its thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries:

“Passport serves more than 300,000 Medicaid beneficiaries across the Commonwealth, many of whom reside in Louisville and rely on critical services offered by KentuckyOne and its facilities. We are wholly supportive of this arrangement and very pleased to see that a solution is being reached.”

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Posted by WAVE 3 News on Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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