LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Roughly four years into a partnership that appeared challenging from the start, University Medical Center and the James Graham Brown Center will re-take control of their operations from KentuckyOne Health over the next six months.
The transition is set to be complete by July 1, 2017, the start of the Commonwealth's next budget year.
"This is not a divorce," UofL Interim Executive Vice President Dr. Greg Postel told a news conference following a meeting of the Board of Trustees' Executive Committee on Tuesday. "And I don't think unwind is the proper term either."
"It's an agreement with KentuckyOne that essentially redesigns that partnership," Trustees Chairman Dr. Larry Benz said.
Two months ago, tensions were such that UofL Medical and Dental faculty spoke of shifts so understaffed they compromised quality of care and patients' safety.
Hospital overseers, including Dr. Posrel had notified KentuckyOne that it was $62 million behind in payments promised under the Joint Operating Agreement, which could further compromise UofL's status as a teaching hospital and center for medical research.
"KentuckyOne Health will honor all of its financial obligations to both the hospital and to the University of Louisville," Postel said.
A joint news release makes no mention of the $62 million question, saying only that KentuckyOne will honor its $44.8 million commitment to improve facilities and equipment through next June.
"The Academic affiliation... will remain in place and will be enhanced to ensure continued access to key physicians and services at Jewish Hospital, Frazier Rehab, and other facilities," KentuckyOne Chief Executive Officer Ruth Brinkley is quoted in a physicians update. "We have decided to end the current Joint Operating Agreement."
Still to be resolved - how to restore services that KentuckyOne centralized. They include IT services, human resources, pharmacy and the general supply chain from bed sheets to syringes. Parts of the pathology department were outsourced.
"There's a different answer for each service, depending on where its housed and who provides it," Dr. Postel said. "That will be decided on a case-by-case basis."
Most significantly, restored self-governance will allow UMC and the Brown Cancer Center to manage hiring and staff, and keep revenues in-house.
Unclear, is how it will resolve pending personnel questions, most notably the fate of Dr. David Dunn, whose duties Postel is covering.
Dr. Dunn has been on administrative leave with pay while the FBI investigates questions concerning his ties to outside business interests. By contract, two-thirds of his more than $800,000 yearly compensation comes in his role as a tenured professor of microbiology and immunology.
Media Relations Director John Karman confirmed Dr. Dunn has neither taught a class, nor treated a patient, nor conducted research since joining UofL in 2011.
University Hospital employs approximately 3,000 people. Some 650 medical and dental students are completing their training residencies there, according to a news release.