Hospital system sues media over merger disclosures

University Hospital in Louisville, Ky., has filed suit against the American Civil Liberties Union and a variety of local news media regarding its attempts to keep terms of a merger with two other health systems confidential, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

University Hospital is currently in negotiations to merge with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Healthcare and St. Joseph Hospital System in Lexington. Although Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway recently ruled that University is a public entity due to its university affiliation, and therefore must comply with media requests for documentation of the deal, hospital officials have been fiercely resisting doing so.

Opponents of the merger say it would require the University campus to comply with Catholic health directives, which include not performing sterilizations or providing other family planning services. University is Louisville's safety-net hospital, and receives nearly $70 million a year from state and local governments to provide indigent care. The media organizations claim being privy to terms of the deal would enable them to accurately report such a transition.

However, University Hospital's attorneys argue it is a private corporation with a board independent of the University of Kentucky.

Some industry observers say that compelling University Hospital to disclose the documentation could jeopardize the merger, which would be the largest in Kentucky history.

For more information:
- read the Courier-Journal article