As Insider Louisville reported earlier this morning, Baptist Health Care is indeed the mystery entity taking over some obstetrics-related procedures from University of Louisville Hospital, clearing a hurdle to Kentucky’s proposed hospital mega-merger.
Baptist East, in the DuPont medical complex, will take all University Hospital deliveries with immediate follow-up tubal ligations.
University of Louisville officials hinted several weeks ago about a possible outside deal allowing them to transfer some procedures to a third party, thus resolving issues related to restrictions by their potential partner, Catholic Health Initiatives, on women’s reproductive procedures and birth control.
University Hospital, CHI and Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare are trying to complete a merger that would create Kentucky’s first statewide health care system, referred to by insiders as Kentucky Statewide Network.
Indulging in press conference tautology, Dr. David Dunn, U of L executive vice president for health affairs, and David Gray, Baptist system CEO represented the deal as a common-sense “partnership” rather than the escape clause on the way to creating a health care giant.
Sticking to a joint news release, which isn’t all that easy to do, Gray called the transfer “a natural expansion” of his system’s already considerable obstetrics services.
“”We’ve been delivering babies since 1924,” Gray said.
(From the joint press release after the presser: Baptist Hospital East has a long history of caring for women throughout all the phases of their lives, from childbirth to geriatric care, dating back to 1924 when doctors delivered the first newborn at the newly opened Kentucky Baptist Hospital,” said David Gray, president of Baptist Hospital East.)
Gray said doctors at Baptist East delivered 3,000 babies in 2010.
A less-than-cheerful Dunn took to task reporters for spreading inaccuracies about tubal ligations – which people used to call “having your tubes tied” – a sterilization procedure that can be performed after a delivery, one of the criticisms aimed at the proposed merger.
Both Dunn and Gray at least acknowledged abortion, the most sensitive political and ethical issue and biggest CHI taboo.
Dunn said abortions done by U of L doctors have to be done off site, and not at University Hospital.
Gray said Baptist system is a faith-based institution and its doctors do not perform abortions.
Dunn also stressed U of L officials approached Baptist about taking the women’s reproductive procedures.
However, sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations told Insider Louisville last week Gray approached U of L not once but twice, reaching a deal after Norton Health Care officials announced a makeover of Baptist rival Norton Suburban into a women’s and children’s hospital.
Both Gray and Dunn said there is no rivalry with Norton, which is currently the state’s largest hospital system.
A visibly angry Dunn said U of L officials will proceed with the merger “despite the naysayers” because the merger will expand health care services as well as the the university’s capacity to train doctors.
More as we know more.