There Is A New Hospital in Louisville!

nch-logo-500The anticipated announcement that Norton Healthcare would change the name of its Children’s Hospital following the settlement of its legal dispute with Kosair Charities was made today.  On November 10 the, former Kosair Children’s Hospital will be named Norton Children’s Hospital.  The new name follows the format used by Norton’s other local hospitals.  The Kosair appellation will also be dropped from other healthcare facilities that shared names including outpatient centers, a women’s and children’s hospital, and a network of pediatric medical general and specialty practices.

According to today’s press release:
“In 1981, the Kosair Charities Committee and Norton-Children’s Hospital entered into an agreement whereby the Kosair name would be used on the hospital.  Following a mutual decision in late June 2016 to end the naming rights agreement, Norton Healthcare and Kosair Charities agreed that the name Kosair would be removed from all Norton-owned facilities and medical practices.” and…

 “We thank Kosair Charities and its members for their support and dedication to the Commonwealth’s children,” [Hospital President] Kmetz said. “Both organizations remain committed to meeting children’s health care needs. We will now pursue that focus independently.”

And so, what began as an amicable partnership that became a major focus of Kosair Charities’ fundraising efforts, ends deceptively gently after an acrimonious legal dispute initiated by Kosair Charities.  For a relatively small contribution towards charitable care in the Children’s Hospital, Kosair Charities had a top billing in the name of the largest and most respected children’s healthcare network in the state. Continue reading “There Is A New Hospital in Louisville!”

Who Paid UofL’s Legal Bills In Its Dispute With Norton Healthcare?

Why does it matter?

[The University responds. See Addendum and comment.]

The dispute over control if not ownership of Children’s Hospital was a traumatic event for our community. It damaged the reputation of the hospital. The cost of the consequent litigation must also have been great. My guess is that the financial cost to both parties must have been in the millions of dollars.  Although details of the legal strategies are masked behind attorney-client privilege, as a state institution, the amounts paid by the University of Louisville to its attorney, Stites and Harbison of Louisville, are subject to open records inquiry – and so I asked. What I learned was both surprising and of concern. Even with heavily discounted legal fees, the cost of their confrontational and ultimately unsuccessful initiative was more than the University anticipated.  Additionally, the bills provide insights  into the internal financial management of the University.

In short, the University admits to paying for only about one third of the many months of formal court proceedings itself, all of which were within the first 15 months of a 29 month period. The University has not yet been willing to disclose where the money for the majority of billing periods came from, or who wrote the checks. I have been dependably informed, but have not yet confirmed, that the money came from the University of Louisville Foundation and University of Louisville Physicians, Inc. (ULP).  This litigation came at a time of considerable turmoil at the University of Louisville, including the turnover of senior administrative personnel.  It is possible to speculate that lack of consensus over the University’s path in this matter played a significant role.  How this litigation was directed and financed offers a window into the administrative and financial workings of the University and illustrates the background from which today’s lack of confidence in the presidency of Dr. James Ramsey arose. Continue reading “Who Paid UofL’s Legal Bills In Its Dispute With Norton Healthcare?”

Details of Settlement Between University of Louisville and Norton Healthcare.

Congratulations are in order!

Last December 17, representatives of the University of Louisville, Norton Healthcare, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky signed a set of agreements that, for the next eight years at least, settle disputes over the physical, programatic, and financial control of the currently named Kosair Children’s Hospital.  Both principal parties pledge a new beginning and promise to work together for the benefit of our community.  I congratulate them.  All of us should take them at their word, and help in whatever way we can to honor their promises to each other and to us.  After all, Children’s Hospital is a unique and vital resource for our community.  This and related litigation has not been helpful for it.

In a series of articles in these pages beginning over two years ago, I made available to the public as many documents relevant to the dispute as possible to allow readers to form opinions of their own about the dispute. In this spirit, and in what I trust will be the the last installment of the series, I publish in their entirety the settlement documents which were kindly provided to me by the University.

In brief summary, it appears to me that both parties got most of what they initially declared was most important to them. Norton receives adequate protection against the threat of eviction from their hospital.  The Hospital’s medical staff remains open to all credentialed physicians in the community and Norton retains the ability to cooperate academically and clinically with the University of Kentucky.  The University is declared to be the sole academic sponsor of the graduate medical education program at the hospital and is assured of a predictable and generous flow of financial support – albeit with a greater degree of accountability attached.  One might reasonably ask then, why did it take so long to come to agreement? What changed in the recalcitrant endgame?  I will venture a few thoughts on this question at the end of this article.  In the meantime, here are the four documents with a few comments about each. Continue reading “Details of Settlement Between University of Louisville and Norton Healthcare.”

Norton Healthcare and University of Louisville Settled Their Dispute Over Children’s Hospital

Breaking News!

Andy Wolfson of the Courier journal is reporting that Norton and UofL have settled their dispute over Kosair Children’s Hospital.  We are all waiting to learn the terms of the settlement related to this important community asset.

Peter Hasselbacher


Norton vs. UofL Lawsuit on Front Burner Again.

Is accreditation of UofL Medical School hanging on the result?

This case has been slowly grinding through the court system since it was filed in September of 2013.  Although things had been brewing for some time, the trigger event was a letter of agreement between Norton and the University of Kentucky to work more collaboratively at Kosair Children’s Hospital.  An indignant UofL fired off a letter threatening to evict Norton physically from its hospital and retain the hospital’s equipment for itself.  UofL’s self-righteous demand was much discredited when it emerged that the University had earlier promised to turn over its pediatric service to KentuckyOne Health– Norton’s chief downtown rival that badly needs a children’s hospital for its planned statewide system.  Norton responded by filing a lawsuit requesting a judicial determination that UofL had no standing to take over the hospital to use with its new best friends. The festering boil is more than ripe to lance! Continue reading “Norton vs. UofL Lawsuit on Front Burner Again.”

Major Shift in Scope of Litigation in Norton Healthcare v. Univ. of Louisville

Some major demands appear to be dropped… at least for now.

I made the pilgrimage to Frankfort this afternoon. A lot has happened since my last dip into the legal documents of this case. There were thousands of pages to review but at 25 cents per copy, I had to fall back on taking photographs of the most recent 1600 pages. There was a court hearing only yesterday! A summary of that session is attached. It looks like the otherwise short hearing was interrupted by some off-the-record discussion between the parties. The index to the video of the court proceedings attributes to Judge Wingate that “what remains in this case is the issue of the amount of the reimbursement that needs to be paid from Norton. This should be able to be taken care of through mediation.” Additionally, “The hearing on the 18th is not needed. The parties should continue in the discovery process.” Continue reading “Major Shift in Scope of Litigation in Norton Healthcare v. Univ. of Louisville”

Next Round in Norton Healthcare v. UofL.

Only Superficially About Cooperation with UK?both-logos-150

The lawsuit stemming from UofL’s claim that Norton had violated its land-lease agreement with the Commonwealth, and the initiation of a process by the University to wrest physical ownership of Kosair Children’s Hospital from Norton is on the docket for Franklin County Circuit Court on March 18. Norton is asking for a judicial determination that its non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) to cooperate more closely with the University of Kentucky over children’s health does not violate is ground lease with the Commonwealth or any other agreement with UofL. Because the Commonwealth actually holds the lease, the Finance and Administration Cabinet intervened as a defendant on the side of UofL. Continue reading “Next Round in Norton Healthcare v. UofL.”

Kosair Charities of Louisville Breaking Ties With Its Hospital.

Elvis has already left the building!elvis-closeup-150

Andy Wolfson of the Courier-Journal updated us on the status of Kosair Charities Foundation’s lawsuit with a peek at Norton Healthcare’s countersuit. It is amazing how different things can look when both sides of the story have been heard. I won’t go into additional details here as I have not yet seen the full brief myself. As was also the case in the tag-team lawsuit stemming from the University of Louisville’s attempt to evict Norton from its Children’s Hospital, attempts by the court and encouragement from the Commonwealth to have the matters settled by mediation failed. Frankly, this was not a surprise to me. It was made clear to anyone who can read that UofL wants to present a children’s hospital to its new clinical partner, Kentucky One Health. It is also obvious that the University has already wooed Kosair Charities away from Norton. Mediation only works when both sides are willing to compromise. All I see is scorched-earth tactics. In my opinion, UofL has been burning its bridges to Norton for years. In partnering with KentuckyOne, it put alligators in the moats. Continue reading “Kosair Charities of Louisville Breaking Ties With Its Hospital.”

First Oral Arguments in Norton Healthcare vs. University of Louisville

Last Wednesday, I made a field trip to Frankfort for what is to my knowledge, the first face-to-face extended oral argument between the University of Louisville and Norton Healthcare over Norton Kosair Children’s Hospital. It is easy for me to get lost in the sequence of the legal proceedings, but nominally the hearing was over Norton’s motion to dismiss UofL’s counterclaims to its original motion of last year for Declaratory Relief from UofL’s attempt to seize physical control of its Children’s Hospital. (You see what I mean?) As I understand it, even if Norton were to succeed this week, the legal dispute between the two parties would not be over. Nonetheless, the two-hour hearing laid out the major positions and tenor of both parties and was instructive. Continue reading “First Oral Arguments in Norton Healthcare vs. University of Louisville”

UofL Hires New Director for Bone Marrow Transplant Program.

One program or two?

I had not planned on writing quite so soon about bone marrow transplantation, but in doing my background work on U.S. News & World Report’s designation of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center as a regional high-performing cancer program, I learned that the Center has just recruited a new director for their bone marrow transplant program. Dr. William Tse is an experienced clinician and academician, was recruited from West Virginia University, and will begin in Louisville in early November. This was a fast, high-priority recruitment for the University of Louisville and the Brown Cancer Center following the loss of several clinical and research faculty faculty to the University of Kentucky, and a requirement for a minimal number of specifically-trained physicians to retain essential accreditation. Bone marrow transplantation, part of the growing field of cellular or stem-cell therapy, currently plays important part in the treatment of leukemia and other malignant diseases, and of inherited genetic disorders. Cellular therapy comprises a prominent part of the University’s commercial research portfolio.

Things looking up?
I had the opportunity to speak with one of the program’s current physicians who is optimistic about the future of the program. Although I was not given the updated procedure numbers for the two programs, I am told that they are on the way back up, as are are the numbers of clinical research protocols planned. Here is a chart updated with numbers of bone marrow transplants in 2013 as reported to the state. Continue reading “UofL Hires New Director for Bone Marrow Transplant Program.”