Neeli Bendapudi speaks to media after Louisville ends negotiations with Catholic Health Initiatives.
Neeli Bendapudi speaks to media after Louisville ends negotiations with Catholic Health Initiatives. | Photo by Jeremy Chisenhall

Despite University of Louisville’s inability to find a partner to purchase KentuckyOne’s Louisville health care facilities, Jewish Hospital is not in immediate danger of closing, UofL President Neeli Bendapudi said Thursday.

Jewish is going to maintain its operations in the short term, and UofL has reached an agreement that protects medical students who are practicing at the hospital, Bendapudi said.

“This might be very nerve-racking for many people, uncertainty is always that way, change is always that way,” Bendapudi said. “What I’m happy to tell you is that all of our agreements have been extended with no real end date.”

The medical facilities, especially Jewish, are critical to the university and serve as a staging area for many School of Medicine-related functions, including cardiology, organ transplantation and neurosurgery services.

Bendapudi said that if Jewish Hospital were to close, or if a buyer that discontinued programs that involve the university, UofL would be given a 90-day notice. That would give the university a chance to transfer the medical residents to other hospitals.

Bendapudi said that she reached out to CEOs of Louisville’s other big health care players, Baptist Health and Norton Healthcare, Thursday morning.

The university announced Wednesday night that it had ended negotiations with KentuckyOne to buy Jewish Hospital, Frazier Rehab Institute and other properties because it could not find a partner to invest the significant resources that would be required for an acquisition of that magnitude.

A source has told Insider that the university was looking for a partner to put up at least $1 billion, and while Bendapudi would not provide details on an acquisition price tag Thursday, she said that talks with all three potential partners were “too far apart.”

The offers that we were getting were not ones that would have made it viable for us,” she said.

Bendapudi said that the university was unwilling to put itself in financial danger to rescue the facilities.

She did not disclose with which potential partners the university was having discussions.

“If it were cherry-picking properties, right, if you were to say ‘I want this, this, this,’ there were lots of takers,” Bendapudi said. “The reason we stepped up was the downtown assets that clearly (are) the problematic ones.”

She said the university wanted a partner committed to buying all of the properties, including the troubled Jewish and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth hospitals, which have been losing more than $1 million per week.

She said that UofL didn’t ask for or receive any money from the state or local government. She also said that the university spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to find a way to save the facilities.

 

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