If not, what then?
Surely the end-game of the years-long efforts of Catholic Health Initiatives and KentuckyOne Health to sell some or all of their hospitals in Louisville must be coming to a climax. Transferring management of University of Louisville Hospital to KentuckyOne– a move that turned out badly for both institutions– was always as much or more about saving Jewish than ULH. Many outside entities came to kick the tires of what KentuckyOne wanted to sell but walked off the lot. The last acknowledged potential buyer whose keys KentuckyOne was holding was the tag-team of the private equity firm Blue Mountain and its spinoff for-profit hospital management company, Integrity Healthcare– now majority-owned by for-profit Nantworks Companies and Nantworks owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. Sound complicated? It is! Casting a very dark curtain over this potential transaction in Louisville is last week’s announcement that Blue Mountain & Co.’s first and only attempt to take over a failing non-profit Catholic hospital chain in California has failed– the hospital system has filed for bankruptcy. These six Verity Hospitals (formerly the Daughters of Charity) might be bought by their communities, taken over by others, liquidated for their assets, or otherwise close. I cannot avoid concluding that the same result would occur in Louisville and for much the same reasons.
CHI has played this one very close to its corporate chest. Fanned by anxiety about the future, rumors have been flying in increasingly disparate and desperate directions ranging from “Blue Mountain” has taken a second look and will sign on soon; or Blue Mountain has walked away for good; or that Nantworks and Dr. Soon-Shiong will move forward with the deal without Blue Mountain; or that CHI will give Jewish to the University for a song; and even that one or both of the sister Jewish & Sts. Mary Hospitals will soon shut its doors. None of the potential players is in a strong place right now as I will outline below. The one thing I am sure of is that the ground under the downtown hospital complex is going to quake hard, and that secondary seismic activity will be felt out in the county and beyond. The Louisville Community is going to have to make some public health decisions that are both difficult and expensive. Continue reading “Can Jewish Hospital in Louisville be Saved? Perhaps Not.”