Ongoing Planning Between UofL and KentuckyOne Health.

Does all Kentucky business happen at basketball games?

I made an interesting field trip to New York City last Friday. By accident, I discovered that the University of Louisville’s Department of continuing medical education was offering a seminar in the Big Apple entitled, “What We Can Learn about Hospital Mergers, Capital Investment and Construction in a Landlocked Urban Environment.” This topic sounded familiar! Given all the excitement about religious intermarriages of hospitals, I thought it would be interesting to hear what some of the players would have to say off the battlefield. It took a few phone calls, but eventually I got my name on the list. As I learned later, this meeting was part of an annual affair for University officials and faculty going to the Big East basketball tournament. Physician members can get some of continuing medical education credits necessary for licensure. The trip also gives University representatives a chance to visit other medical schools and teaching hospitals and to talk about things like technology transfer and mergers. This year’s field trip included a visit to Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical School which had recently gone through a high-profile marriage with New York University, and an even higher profile divorce.

There were some 20 people in attendance at the conference– a pretty high-powered team. President Ramsey, Provost Willihnganz, Vice President Inman (development, governmental relations, and marketing), and the Deans of the Schools of Medicine and Education made up the starting five. On the bench were the director of the University’s Residency Programs, and various division chiefs and program directors including neurosurgery, neurology, and anesthesia. I was actually shocked to find in attendance two very senior officials from Jewish Hospital who were leaders in last year’s failed merger attempt. This was not a party to which I would have been invited had I not crashed it myself. A few of the group were obviously not happy I was there and I suspect their conversations following the scholarly presentations of the conference were guarded in my presence.   Continue reading “Ongoing Planning Between UofL and KentuckyOne Health.”

Follow-up on UofL’s Search For a New Partner:

Responses by University of Louisville to questions from potential applicants to its RFP.

On March 9, the University of Louisville released its responses to questions submitted following its pre-submission conference on February 28. Some of these answers clarified questions asked at the conference. An e-mail containing the information was sent to 36 individuals and was posted on the UofL website. Most of the recipients were University of Louisville people, but there were individuals from Norton, Catholic Health Initiatives, Baptist Hospital, Jewish Hospital, Stites & Harbison, Kauffman-Hall, Price-Waterson, Health Management Associates, and yours truly.

A total of 71 questions were responded to, or requested information provided in attachments, but amazingly little was revealed. Eighteen of the questions were dismissed with the equivalent of “read my mind,” “you tell us,” “depends on your proposal,” or “will tell you after we have decided.” Bare-bones information seems to be the rule of thumb. These were not the responses I would have expected from an organization that was seriously soliciting responses from a major-league player. “Brush-offs” is a term that comes involuntarily to my mind as I read the responses. You can judge for yourself. Please tell me in the comments section if I am being unnecessarily harsh. Continue reading “Follow-up on UofL’s Search For a New Partner:”

KentuckyOne Health Lays Off Its Lawyers.

Shouldn’t we have seen it coming?

A number of sources, including Patrick Howington of the Courier-Journal, have reported that KentuckyOne Health recently dismissed its entire internal legal department. Other layoffs in the name of “streamlining” are foreseen. This, of course, is no surprise. After all, laying people off to reduce overhead is one of the reasons companies merge, isn’t it? I mean who didn’t see this coming? In fact, during the only two-sided public debate before the last merger attempt collapsed, one audience member asked the merger proponents what they probably thought was a supportive question related to the wonderful number of new jobs that would be created– right? The merger proponents embarrassingly had to hem and haw about how that might not be the case. In fact, the hospital partners of the current KentuckyOne Health entity have been laying people off for many months. Despite lots of flashy advertising, business has not been good. Artificial hearts and occasional hand transplants do not alone a well-rounded and efficiently-run hospital make. The results of several decades of unsuccessful management will take some time to alter. I am hopeful that more attention to their core business will pay off. The downtown medical center needs all its hospitals to be willing to cooperate in the public interest. We do not have that at the present time. Continue reading “KentuckyOne Health Lays Off Its Lawyers.”

Notice of Next Meeting of UMC Ad Hoc Operations Review Committee.

Media Advisory

The next meeting of the UMC Ad Hoc Operations Review Committee will be held on Monday, March 12, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. in the Glass Room in the basement of the Ambulatory Care Building at University of Louisville Hospital.

The published agenda is:

  • 1) Approval of minutes of 2/21/12 meeting
  • 2) Conversation with Dixon Hughes Goodman re scope and timing of their work
  • 3) Next steps


As was promised, I received this  notice on March 2.  The public is invited.  Why not attend to show that there is community concern other than mine!  Of course, I am only too happy to report for you.

The committee’s formation was announced by UofL President Ramsey last Feb 2 and its work was expected to be completed by April.  The first committee meeting was held almost 3 weeks later on Feb 21.  It was clear at that time that there was no common vision of the scope of the Committee’s work.  A consultant was hired to help define those goals and to do the work of the committee.  Next week’s meeting will be almost 6 weeks after inception with  only 3 weeks left till April.  The agenda reprinted above makes it clear that the scope of the project remains undefined.  At this rate is It is hard to imagine that much can be done over the next 6 weeks to keep on schedule for an April finish.  Indeed, the University hopes to complete its parallel RFP process and have its new/old partner on board in early April!  So why are they doing this?  There are several respected and  high-powered people on this committee, but it appears that the University is poised to do what it wants anyway before their Committee process can inform any decision.  Talk about wasted time and squandered opportunity.  If there is anybody in Louisville who feels they can trust this University and its leadership, please tell us why you think so in the comments to this posting.

Peter Hasselbacher
March 6, 2012