These are biz tips Insider Louisville staff and contributors have collected during the past few days, some of which are NOT double-verified like Insider Louisville’s daily reporting.
But as we always say, this is the inside dope from insider sources with direct knowledge of events.
• Feature scoops this week have one element in common: How the failed hospital merger is rippling out through Louisville’s health care matrix. Since its editorial board killed the hospital merger, the Courier-Journal has completely lost interest in the biggest changes in the local health care business in decades. But we persist. Top sources assure us KentuckyOne headquarters will be in Louisville, not in Lexington or Northern Kentucky. However, it won’t be in Jewish Hospital’s Ivory Tower in the downtown hospital complex. We’re being told KentuckyOne Health, the non-profit Kentucky subsidiary of Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, has hired a Louisville HR chief, and new CEO Ruth Brinkley is in place. But that’s as far as it goes. The KentuckyOne website isn’t even live.
• Of course, University of Louisville Hospital is NOT part of what was going to be Kentucky Statewide Network, the aborted merger of CHI, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary HealthCare and University of Louisville Hospital. Now, we’re being told Baptist Health Care is out of the picture as U of L officials search desperately for a merger partner. Outside consultants find the financial situation at University Hospital is critical. U of L officials issued an RFP February 24, but as with so much at publicly funded entities, you nosy taxpayers are not allowed to know most of the details. The irony, of course, is that Keith Runyon et al railed against the merger as a constitutional issue. Had Roman Catholic authorities gotten control of a public institution, perhaps dozens of women would been inconvenienced, sent to Baptist East for reproductive procedures banned under Ethical and Religious Directives. Now there is no hope of CHI’s money coming to the rescue at University Hospital, it’s starting to dawn on CJ reporters and the state officials who nixed the deal that without the merger, thousands of poor people stand to receive no medical services at all at Louisville’s safety net indigent facility. Oooops.
• Interestingly, all the other hospital systems made their own strategic moves, assuming KSN would come into being. A whiff of a merger set off an industry-wide war, with no one wanting their hospital system to become irrelevant should a mega-system emerge. For instance, last August, Norton Healthcare officials announced they would spend $120 million to convert Suburban Hospital into a women-and-families only facility. Except now, we hear one of the major pieces of business at Suburban is going to be a mens’ oncology department instead of at the downtown Norton Cancer Institute. Huh? The transformation of the tired Suburban facility appears to actually be happening. Norton plans to build a new intensive-care unit in a new, 3-story addition. We hear KentuckyOne officials are proceeding with earlier moves by JHSMC execs to pack dozens of OBGYN practices into three floors of the Jewish Medical Center East building at 4121 Dutchmans Lane. Picking off OBGYNs started last August when Jewish officials lured Dr. Kim Alumbaugh’s 30-doc Total Woman practice. Now we understand there will be at least seven OBGYN practices in the building, with all deliveries at nearby Baptist East because Jewish facilities have never been licensed for birthing babies.
• Speaking of Norton Healthcare, John Harryman, who was Suburban president and administrator, now will be at Norton’s Brownsboro Crossing’s facility, where he’ll report to Doug Winkelhake. The elevation of Winklehake, 39, over Harryman and Kevin Wardell, two more veteran executives, “was eye popping … youth over experience!” notes one source. More as we know more about this.
• This is a story you’re going to be hearing a lot more about. Insiders are talking about a suit or multiple suits between two of Louisville’s most influential families. The suit is between one of investor/philanthropist Nolen Allen’s family partnerships and the Fenley family, among the major commercial real estate players in the Louisville market. The suit is over the sale of the Springhurst properties, including a hotel, according to the original complaint, which was filed October 27. But there’s a lot more to this, say sources. And sources say a judge denied in January a Fenley motion to dismiss. “No question, this one is going to trial,” said one tipster. So our attorneys are pouring over the docs. More when we understand exactly what this is all about.
• Today is F-Day for Holiday World. The Koch family told the media back in February they expected to have funding in place to take over Kentucky Kingdom by April 15. Paula Werne, Holiday World director of communications, responded to Insider Louisville’s query last week: Thanks for your interest in our progress – I do expect we’ll have an update for you next week. I’ll be sure to let you know. We’re holding our collective breath. Like everything at The Kentucky State Fair Board, where an embattled Harold Workman holds sway with all this cousins, nieces, political allies and fishing buddies, the “contract” with the Kochs is secret. (We thought the Kochs might have wanted to line up tentative financing before getting a lease on the 60-acre park, but that’s just us.) State Fair Board spokeswoman Amanda Storment confirmed Insider Louisville will have to request the public contract through the Freedom of Information Act. The Kochs told a February 23 news conference they have ambitious plans to transform the park, and will do it for the low, low price of $20 million, less than half of Ed Hart’s proposal. And they’ll do it without the state having to guarantee any bond issues. A miracle worthy of the Ark Park. Our sources are telling us the Kochs will drag out the Bluegrass Boardwalk deal as long as they can to keep the Louisville park off-line and Holiday World’s attendance at record levels. As far as we can tell, Workman and Co. have never paid Ed Hart the $1.4 million they owe him under Workman’s contract to maintain the equipment, which has been idle now for more than three years. Workman acknowledged the state owes Hart, but said repaying Hart will “take some time,” Workman said. Maybe sometime after Workman retires this fall. More as soon as we get the contract.
• Advertising/marketing firm The Vimarc Group is moving to a large, lofty space in Tasman Properties Group’s The Point in Butchertown from 11840 Commonwealth Drive off Blankenbaker Parkway. Look for the finish-out to take three months. Said a Vimarc insider, “We just outgrew the space. And there’s not anyone out there (in far eastern Jefferson County) now except Power Creative.”
• Sources confirm Chicago-based Trilogy Real Estate has a contract on the Park Laureate Apartments, and the 272-unit property will bring a premium in a deal worth way over $20 million. Summit-CRA Multi-Housing Fund I, operated by Continental Realty Advisors Ltd., a Denver-based real estate management and brokerage firm, bought Park Laureate back in 2007 for $19.9 million, according to Jefferson County Property Administrator records. But our real estate relocation sources tell us with few exceptions, Louisville’s better apartment complexes have waiting lists, with rents climbing. Even with increasing mainteance costs, these complexes are pumping money.