Loan to help U of L with Jewish Hospital acquisition passes legislature Thursday, Jan 30 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville’s $35 million loan request to help with the purchase of Jewish Hospital passed one barrier of legislature Jan. 21. The Kentucky House’s Appropriations and Revenue Committee approved the university’s request, and now it moves to the full House.

“We appreciate the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee’s vote in favor of the state loan supporting the acquisition and enhancement of the properties that now are part of U of L Health,” said U of L President Neeli Bendapudi.

The request for this loan came back in August 2019 when U of L decided they would purchase KentuckyOne Health’s Louisville assets. Originally, U of L asked for a $50 million loan, but they announced that they decreased the loan to $35 million Jan. 9. Bendapudi said this was due to U of L calculating procurement savings and reductions in operational expenses.

“Under the leadership of Chairman Rudy, the committee showed its commitment not only to the teaching, research and patient care missions of the University of Louisville and its medical system, but also to the economic success of the commonwealth and the health and well-being of its citizens,” she said. “I also want to personally thank Speaker Osborne and Minority Floor Leader Jenkins for their continued support of the legislation.”

While the bill was passed, some still had doubts about this being good for the state. Andrew McNeill, state director of Americans for Prosperity, was concerned about this loan leaving tax payers on the hook.

The original terms of the loan request are being upheld: Half of the loan will be forgiven if U of L meets certain criteria, including retaining jobs and providing their services to underserved communities in Louisville. These terms were set by former Gov. Matt Bevin when he committed this loan last August.

“We continue to work with our elected officials to emphasize the importance of this loan, which will help us stabilize these assets and ensure the long-term viability of U of L Health,” said Bendapudi.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L Health CEO Says Faster Billing, Savings Contributed To Lower Request For State Funding Thursday, Jan 23 2020 

Kentucky lawmakers are moving closer to approving funding for the University of Louisville’s purchase of the Jewish Hospital system. In an address to the Rotary Club of Louisville Thursday, U of L Health CEO Tom Miller shed light on why the health system is asking for less money from the state.

Lower operational costs, higher reimbursements and the ability to bill faster than anticipated contributed to U of L needing less state funding, Miller said. He said Kentucky officials asked his team to be “respectful” of the fact that they’ll use state funds.

The university originally asked for a $50 million loan from the state last summer, but recently dropped its ask to $35 million. U of L purchased the struggling Jewish Hospital as well as other Louisville assets of Kentucky One Health in November.

J. Tyler Franklin | wfpl.org

Jewish Hospital

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee passed a bill that would use emergency funds to give U of L the loan earlier this week. If approved by the full legislature, the state will loan U of L $35 million, which will be due back in 20 years. Half of that amount is forgivable if the hospitals meet certain conditions related to hiring and caring for under-served populations.

“As we try to establish a plan to be successful, to turn around, again, our goal is to operate University and Jewish Hospital as one hospital,” Miller said.

He said Jewish Hospital had about $100 million in payroll, a figure U of L Health could not accommodate without support from state and foundations, the latter of which put in $50 million.

Because of the purchase, the combined hospitals had to re-credential doctors and sites, reapply for licenses, gain approval from insurance providers and more. And while the system waited for federal approval for a change of ownership, it couldn’t bill patients.

“That was going to be about $150 million in costs…Our staff wanted to get paid. Our suppliers wanted to get paid during this process, but we couldn’t bill,” Miller said. “And so that’s why we needed the help because we just didn’t have the type of resources associated with it.”

But Miller said some approvals came in faster than anticipated, meaning the hospitals will be billing sooner. He said the remaining $120 million in bills will be sent by the end of January.

Looking ahead, Miller said U of L plans to pursue a turnaround strategy that includes enhancing what Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital and Jewish Hospital Shelbyville offer so that patients don’t have to pass first through the downtown hospitals via a hub and spoke model. That includes building more outpatient care into the model, he said.

KentuckyOne Health assets are officially owned by U of L Monday, Nov 4 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville has officially finalized the purchase of KentuckyOne Health’s assets as of Nov. 1. This ends the uncertain future of the struggling Jewish Hospital, now U of L Health–Jewish Hospital.

“This is an exciting and historic day for the University of Louisville,” said president Neeli Bendapudi. “This acquisition enables us to ensure access to quality health care for our entire community, and it strengthens our School of Medicine and our Health Sciences Center campus by allowing us to offer more training opportunities for our students and more research capacity for our faculty. It also saves thousands of jobs that could have been lost if any of these facilities closed.”

About 5,500 former KentuckyOne employees have joined U of L Health as part of this acquisition. Each hospital under this purchase has also been rebranded under the U of L Health name.

In the coming weeks the only visible differences from this purchase will be the new signs with each hospitals new name. The new names for each hospital were announced Oct. 28.

The one thing that was not finalized on Nov. 1 is the $50 million loan U of L is counting on from the state. This loan won’t be approved – if it is approved -until January 2020 by state lawmakers.

The process of this acquisition started back in January with U of L searching for a viable partner to make the purchase.

One of the reasons U of L backed out of buying the KentuckyOne assets earlier this year was due to funding. “Without a viable partner, we do not have the resources necessary to make the acquisition a reality,” Bendpaudi said earlier this year.

It was only when the state stepped in and promised a $50 million loan that U of L said they would purchase KentuckyOne’s assets.

U of L – pending the approval of the loan – is expecting half of it to be forgiven. They must meet certain criteria in terms of employment and service to underserved areas in order for the $25 million to be forgiven.

U of L will also be receiving funding from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and the Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Foundation. The former is contributing $10 million and the latter $40 million to the deal.

“As we transfer the ownership and operations to U of L Health, I am optimistic that these facilities will continue their legacy of excellence and innovation led by the outstanding employees and providers,” said Larry Schumacher, senior vice president of operations, CommonSpirit Health Southeast Division.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Jewish Hospital will now be called U of L Hospital–Jewish Campus Tuesday, Oct 29 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

U of L has announced Jewish Hospital will now be called U of L Hospital–Jewish Campus after the sale is completed Nov. 1.

“The name respects Jewish Hospital’s history as a leader in cardiovascular services, neurosciences and transplantation while also preserving its legacy of serving the community,” said Jill Scoggins, interim director of communications at U of L Health Sciences Center. She also said that U of L Hospital’s name will not be changing.

Under this new name and acquisition the two hospitals will be united as one but with two locations. Both locations will operate under the same leadership team and direction. This unification is to help restore and support the services, research, employees, physicians and programs at Jewish.

“Health care in Louisville has grown because of the commitment made by these organizations to improve the health of patients throughout the greater Louisville community and the passion they have to serve with excellence and compassion,” said President Neeli Bendapudi. “The University of Louisville and U of L Health will build on this foundation, to improve wellness for our community, by building a regional academic health care system based on treatment innovations, leading-edge research and patient-centered care.”

Since U of L can’t operate a religious entity under the Catholic faith, the name of Saints Mary and Elizabeth and Our Lady of Peace Hospitals were changed as well. Those hospitals are now U of L–Mary and Elizabeth and U of L–Peace Hospitals.

The chapels will remain. “As is the case at U of L Hospital, people of all faiths are encouraged to use the chapels as they choose,” said Scoggins. “Chaplains are on staff to support and honor the many different faiths and traditions observed by patients and employees.”

The other KentuckyOne Health properties being renamed are:

  • U of L Health–Frazier Rehab
  • U of L Health–Rudd Heart and Lung Center
  • U of L Health–Shelbyville Hospital
  • U of L Health–Medical Center Southwest
  • U of L Health–Medical Center South (Shephardsville)
  • U of L Health–Medical Center East
  • U of L Health–Medical Center Northeast

The physicians practice associated with KentuckyOne will be renamed under the U of L Physicians brand to reflect the new alignment with U of L Health.

U of L announced in August it would be purchasing the struggling KentuckyOne facilities. They will be receiving $126 million in cash, debt-forgiveness and other sources over a four-year period from KentuckyOne.

In addition, U of L has made an agreement with the state government for a loan of $50 million, which will be partially forgivable. This loan cannot be approved by lawmakers until January 2020, two months after the close of this deal.

The sign changes on each facility will take place starting this week and will continue over the next several months. U of L Health will assume official ownership over these facilities as of Nov. 1.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L plans to rename Jewish Hospital once deal is finalized Wednesday, Oct 23 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville is planning to rename Jewish Hospital once the purchase closes on Nov. 1. The new name of Jewish has not been finalized at this time.

“We are awaiting review and approval from the Board of Directors of the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence,” said Jill Scoggins, interim director of communications at the U of L Health Science Center.

U of L said back in August that the name of Jewish was not going to change in this deal. “As was the case when CHI originally purchased Jewish Hospital, U of L Health is not changing the name of Jewish Hospital,” stated a U of L Hospital FAQ.

U of L announced in August that it would be changing the names of two other hospitals in the KentuckyOne deal. Saints Mary and Elizabeth Hospital and Our Lady of Peace were the two hospitals slated to receive new names.

The Archdiocese of Louisville requested that religious affiliations be removed since U of L would not be part of the Catholic Health Initiative system. This will include the removal of crosses from the former Catholic facilities.

Those hospitals are now named U of L Health–Mary and Elizabeth Hospital and U of L Health–Peace Hospital.

“U of L is a public institution that receives taxpayer money. We cannot follow the directives of the Catholic Church nor can we be seen as promoting the beliefs of any particular faith tradition,” said U of L spokesperson John Karman.

Jewish Hospital’s name change will not be because of religious reasons since it is not managed under the Jewish faith. “While the hospital has not been managed by Jewish faith, U of L Health will honor the traditions and culture of Jewish Hospital,” stated the FAQ.

Every facility that will be acquired with this deal will be branded under the U of L Health name after the Nov. 1 closing date said Scoggins.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Jewish Hospital is keeping their heart transplant program Thursday, Aug 29 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

KentuckyOne Health announced they would be cancelling their request to suspend the heart transplant program at Jewish Hospital Aug. 23.

“KentuckyOne Health is canceling a voluntary action to place its heart transplant program on long-term inactivation,” said the release. “The health care company had announced on July 18 that it would place the program on long-term inactivation but is now asking the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages the U.S. organ transplant system, to disregard that action.”

The program was initially slated to be suspended on Aug. 17. U of L announced intentions to keep the program running alongside their acquisition of KentuckyOne hospitals on Aug. 14.

“The heart transplant program is simply too important for our university, our community and the patients who are depending on this life-saving procedure,” University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi said in the release. “We thank KentuckyOne for working with us to maintain the program. We are taking steps to shore up our efforts, and very soon we will have a plan in place to ensure the viability of the program for the future.”

When U of L’s purchase of KentuckyOne assets is finalized on Nov. 1 they will assume control over the Certificate of Need for the transplant program.

“U of L has assured us it is committed to the heart transplant program,” Deborah Lee-Eddie, interim CEO, KentuckyOne Health Louisville Market said in the release. “As part of the transition planning U of L is working on strategies to increase volume for the heart transplant program.”

This will come as a relief to the over 32 patients on the waiting list seeing that they will not have to travel to another program. The only other transplant program in state is at the University of Kentucky.

Ken Dulnuan, MD, a cardiologist with University of Louisville Physicians, has been appointed as the medical director for the program.

Jewish Hospital and U of L have collaborated with the heart transplant program for over 35 years. Jewish Hospital performed the first heart transplant in Kentucky.

Last year U of L and KentuckyOne performed their 500th heart transplant.

All five transplant programs at Jewish Hospital will transfer to U of L Health upon closing of the purchase.

Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L plans to rename two hospitals in KentuckyOne buy Monday, Aug 26 2019 

By Matthew Keck–

The University of Louisville plans to finalize their acquisition of KentuckyOne hospitals by renaming two of them.

U of L announced on Aug. 14 that they would be buying KentuckyOne’s Louisville hospitals, which includes Our Lady of Peace and Sts. Mary and Elizabeth hospitals.

Our Lady of Peace and Sts. Mary and Elizabeth hospitals will undergo name changes after the deal is final. According to a FAQ on U of L Hospital’s website the hospitals won’t follow the directives of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church’s directives include conditions that prohibit heterologous and homologous fertilization, surrogate mothers, non-therapeutic experiments on living embryos, and they cannot promote or condone contraception practices.

“U of L is a public institution that receives taxpayer money. We cannot follow the directives of the Catholic Church nor can we be seen as promoting the beliefs on any particular faith tradition,” said U of L spokesperson John Karman. Karman said that all three parties involved in this purchase have agreed that the names must be changed.

“U of L Health is committed to honor this rich history and to support the hospitals, their employees, physicians and community in keeping the traditions that make them unique and special,” according to the university FAQ. “We have formed a culture work group to help ensure that each facility will maintain the traditions they cherish and celebrate the heritage of each individual hospital.”

Another FAQ said that Jewish Hospital will not undergo a name change and honor the traditions and culture of the hospital. They also noted that Jewish Hospital is not managed under Jewish faith so there is no religious affect.

U of L said that they are working with their leadership team and others to develop names for these hospitals. There a has been no mention of possible names at this time.

Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal

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After Closure Announcement, Jewish Hospital Heart Transplant Program Will Stay Open Friday, Aug 23 2019 

Jewish Hospital will keep its heart transplant program, KentuckyOne Health and the University of Louisville Hospital announced Friday afternoon.

Jewish Hospital announced in late July that it was suspending the program that had 32 patients on the heart transplant waiting list. The move to keep it comes about a week after the University of Louisville said it is buying the financially failing downtown hospital with state help.

“UofL has assured us it is committed to the heart transplant program,” Deborah Lee-Eddie, Interim CEO of KentuckyOne Health Louisville Market, said in a press release. “As part of the transition planning U of L is working on strategies to increase volume for the heart transplant program.”

U of L Physicians Cardiologist Ken Dulnuan has been appointed as the medical director for the heart transplant program.

U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said the program is too important for the community and the university to have it go away.

“We thank KentuckyOne for working with us to maintain the program,” Bendapudi said in the release. “We are taking steps to shore up our efforts, and very soon we will have a plan in place to ensure the viability of the program for the future.”

The hospital’s relatively small program is more than 35 years old. Last year, it performed 10 heart transplants. As a comparison, the University of Kentucky Hospital performed the procedure for 29 patients in 2018.

When Jewish Hospital said it was putting the program on hiatus in July, it attributed the move to a change in how hearts are distributed across the country that had resulted in fewer heart donations allocated to the hospital.

A representative from KentuckyOne wasn’t immediately available to comment.

KentuckyOne deal already proving to be vital Thursday, Aug 15 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville’s acquisition of KentuckyOne assets may already be having an impact.

U of L health care leaders affirmed their intentions to save the Jewish Hospital heart transplant program on Aug. 14. This was the same day U of L announced their plans to purchase KentuckyOne’s assets.

Dr. Mark S. Slaughter, head of the program at Jewish Hospital, told the Courier Journal that he intends to stay with the university to see that this happens.

The program is set to be suspended on Aug. 17 and inactive for at least 12 months or indefinitely. Failure to stop the suspension would cause serious ramifications, being that this is one of only two adult heart transplant centers in Kentucky.

The program’s inactive status would affect about 32 patients on the waiting list and U of L’s cardiology program. Patients would have to travel to the next closest center at the University of Kentucky to receive care.

U of L medical students wouldn’t have a place to fulfill their residencies if the program is suspended. Keeping this program allows students to receive the training they need to help care for post-transplant patients and recruit new surgeons.

Ken Marshall, the chief operating officer of U of L Medical Center, said getting the revocation is “one of the first things on our list.”

U of L was forced to act fast when news broke last month that Jewish Hospital would be closing in about two months. It is still unclear the process of getting the suspension withdrawn.

If U of L’s purchase of KentuckyOne’s assets goes through on Nov. 1 the transplant program will officially be under their medical program.

Photo Courtesy of WDRB

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U of L to buy KentuckyOne Hospitals Wednesday, Aug 14 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville announced it will buy KentuckyOne Health’s Louisville assets on Aug. 14. This move was made to prevent the closure of the struggling Jewish Hospital and other local medical facilities.

U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said, “These medical facilities and the thousands of professionals who work there have for decades provided high quality medical care to patients throughout our community and beyond.”

“We are proud to protect that legacy and to ensure the continuation of that care as we acquire and enhance these facilities.”

As part of the deal U of L will be paying $10 million to acquire the KentuckyOne assets. The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has pledged a $50 million, 20-year loan, to support this purchase. That loan will have to be introduced and approved by the state legislature next January.

The loan from the state was vital to help offset the significant financial risk for the university. In agreement with the loan, the state said they would forgive half of the loan if U of L meets certain criteria. KentuckyOne’s parent company, CommonSpirit Health, has also agreed to forgive $19.7 million U of L owes in outstanding promissory notes.

U of L will receive more than $76 million in anticipated capital towards future operating expenses.

Gov. Matt Bevin said, “U of L’s acquisition of the KentuckyOne facilities will maintain more than 5,000 jobs in the healthcare sector and ensure that our healthcare delivery system in Metro Louisville is preserved.”

“I am confident that this acquisition will further the incredible medical research occurring at these facilities, while simultaneously meeting the growing demand for quality, cutting-edge healthcare services.”

Two other local foundations are investing in the future of this plan. Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and St. Mary’s Healthcare Foundation will contribute $10 and $40 million respectively, to be paid over four years.

Outside investing has been the key to making this purchase possible for U of L said Bendapudi. Lack of financial backing led to the original deal falling through in June.

Bendapudi also said Jewish Hospital has been slated to be closed in just two months, which made these negotiations urgent.

U of L will have to determine how to operate these facilities profitably. They will also need to find money for hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades. Bendapudi noted this purchase is a risky deal, but also one that offers opportunity.

With the addition of these hospitals, medical school residents and students will have more resources at hand. It will allow them to conduct more cutting-edge research and clinical trials. This will bring about 5,500 more employees to the University as well.

What U of L is buying as listed on their transaction sheet:

  • Jewish Hospital, including visitor and employee parking garages.
  • Frazier Rehab and Neuroscience Center
  • St. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital
  • Jewish Hospital Shelbyville
  • Our Lady of Peace Hospital
  • Physicians groups affiliated with KentuckyOne
  • Outpatient Facilities: Medical Center Jewish East, South, Southwest, and Northeast

The U of L Board of Trustees unanimously approved the plan, expected to close on Nov. 1 pending approval. The acquired locations will be branded under U of L Health.

Photo by Gabriel Wiest / The Louisville Cardinal

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