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Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear Rejects 3-System Merger

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has rejected the proposed three-system merger that would have combined a public safety-net hospital with a Catholic healthcare company to create a statewide system, according to a Courier-Journal report.

The proposed plan would have merged the public University Hospital in Louisville with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare in Louisville and St. Joseph Health System in Lexington. Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, the parent company of St. Joseph, would have majority control over the new system.

Gov. Beshear said the proposed merger is "not in the best interest of the commonwealth and therefore should not move forward," according to the report. He also said "the risks to the public outweigh the potential benefits."

The governor's statements were in line with the findings of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who had issued a report on the merger at Gov. Beshear's request. Mr. Conway said the deal "raises unprecedented and complex legal and policy issues," since it combines a public health facility with a private and religiously-affiliated corporation, according to a separate Courier-Journal report.

The AG's report also chided the University of Louisville — which oversees University Hospital — for negotiating the merger for more than a year without state involvement, according to the news report.

Not all authorities object to the merger, however. Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said he found no "moral objection" to the deal. The Archbishop's approval is necessary for anything deemed an official Roman Catholic ministry.

Related Articles on the Kentucky Hospital Merger:

Details of 3-System Kentucky Merger Revealed
47% of Residents in Louisville Area Want Kentucky Gov. Beshear to Halt Merger
Kentucky Governor Could Approve or Reject 3-System Merger by Saturday

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