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September 2, 2011

Vol. 1, No. 9

Our Vision Statement We are the premier, integrated comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth known for efficiently providing the highest quality care and service close to home; reducing the incidence of disease; and eliminating inequities in access throughout the communities we serve. With unmatched geographic reach, we are differentiated by our faith based and academic identity, developing the best next generation of health care professionals, and for being the fastest in translating research from bench to bedside. Because we are the most vital nationally recognized health system, we are the go-to organization for any major health policy initiatives in the State.

It Has Been a Busy, Milestone-Rich Month for the Partnership Meetings with community groups as well as local and state leaders dotted the calendars of the leaders of the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare, Saint Joseph Health System, and University Medical Center (University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center) throughout August. Along with University of Louisville and Catholic Health Initiatives representatives, the partners have been spreading the message that the pending merger will bring positive changes to the health status of Kentucky and Kentuckians.

Leaders with Leaders In early August, leaders from the partner and sponsor organizations met with Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, State Auditor Crit Luallen, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and other state leaders to discuss the benefits of the merger including the expanded Academic Health Center in Louisville and increased access to physicians and advanced treatments throughout the Commonwealth. The Governor has been updated on merger progress throughout the process, as his approval is needed before the partnership can be finalized. A week later, merger leaders appeared before the Joint Interim Subcommittee on Health and Welfare to present facts about the merger including history, vision, challenges, solutions, and benefits. The appearance gave the partners the opportunity to answer many meaningful questions that had arisen in the public and among government officials regarding the merging of the three distinct cultures. (See the video at

Throughout the month, representatives from one or all of the partners met with various business-, civic-, and faith-based groups to present the case for merger and to answer questions. At each of these meetings, bridges were built or strengthened and friendships made or deepened. Finally, on August 31, the leaders met with the editorial board of The Courier-Journal in Louisville, which has frequently editorialized on the merger throughout the previous weeks. While on some issues the editors and our leaders will continue to “agree to disagree,” the meeting gave UofL President James Ramsey, University Hospital CEO Jim Taylor, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare CEO David Laird, Saint Joseph Health System CMO Dan Varga, and other organizational leaders and representatives the opportunity to answer questions publicly and directly. (See the video at In related news on the same day, officials with the University of Louisville and Baptist Hospital East announced an agreement to expand area access to UofL obstetricians and gynecologists. The agreement also ensures the UofL faculty will continue to provide the community the full range of reproductive services following the merger. Baptist Hospital East has a history of collaboration with regard to UofL School of Medicine's teaching mission. The UofL obstetrics and gynecology faculty physicians will continue to practice at University Hospital, where the bulk of their deliveries and procedures are performed.

Partners in the Press (and on the Radio) Also over the past month the second phase of advertising began appearing in newspapers, magazines, and specialty publications and in radio spots across Kentucky. The new campaign is designed to reinforce the need for the combined mission of the partnering entities to address Kentucky’s serious health issues, including cancer, heart disease, and obesity, as well as the physician shortages and lack of access to proper health care. In addition to these ads, a radio story reporting on the positive outcomes of the Kangaroo Care initiative at Flaget in Bardstown, a program originated at University Hospital, was broadcast on nearly 50 radio stations throughout the Commonwealth.

Hurdle Cleared, Progress Continues While all of this mass, small-group, and personal communication has been going on, important planning work has continued and milestones have been reached. At midnight Thursday, August 25, the deadline for Federal Trade Commission response to the partners’ Hart Scott Rodino filing, one of several filings required, was allowed to pass without further action. The decision of the FTC to allow HSR filing to pass through the waiting period without objection is an important milestone, one of several milestones in the federal, state and church approval processes that are underway. Given this development, the timeline for closing the transaction could be sooner than we had initially planned.

The Transaction Process Leadership team, the presidents and senior executives from the partners, have created an overall program structure and collaborative integration planning process and identified teams and team leads representing each organization to guide the planning process. On August 29 and 30 these teams encompassing dozens of executives, directors and managers from all the partnering entities met in Erlanger, KY, for a two-day “Kick Off Meeting” to begin the process of developing plans for “Day 1 Readiness” and longer term integration. Finally, the new month began with the same feeling of progress, as the new board chaired by Bob Hewett met for the first time on September 1. The board includes 18 members appointed by the sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives, Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services and the University of Louisville.

What’s Next? Over the next few weeks, you are likely to hear announcements regarding the name of the merged entity, the location of the corporate headquarters, and other decisions and recommendations made by the new board, the sponsors, and/or the Transaction Process Leadership team. With closing of the transaction now on the fast track, teams are working diligently to plan for a smooth Day 1 and integration over the following months and years. This is an exciting time for our existing organizations as we move forward with creating an innovative new network that will help change health care delivery in our state.

______________________________________________________________________________ The ads pictured in the article above have appeared in the Herald-Leader, the Courier-Journal, and other publications throughout the state.