University Hospital finances rest on merger rescue

Officials with University Hospital and the University of Louisville say that completing a merger with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare will be crucial to the facility's future financial health, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

University Hospital officials have indicated that absent the merger--which would create the largest hospital system in Kentucky--it might have to reduce care for uninsured and low-income patients. "If we aren't financially viable, we can't support those who can't pay for themselves," said University Hospital Chief Executive Officer James Taylor.

That's despite the fact that University's net income more than tripled in 2010 to $12.8 million from the year before. Five years ago, its net income was $32 million. The recession has forced University to turn away uninsured patients who live outside the Louisville area, notes the Courier-Journal.

Taylor indicated that University's margins remain too thin in order to borrow a substantial amount of money to expand and grow its revenue and profits. It is currently foregoing a lot of capital projects.

"Slowly, we are not replacing ourselves, or upgrading to the next generation of MRI or radiation therapy equipment, or fixing our plant to make it safe and modern and attractive," Taylor said. The cheap financing provided by Jewish & St. Mary's parent entity, Catholic Health Initiatives, would resolve that problem.

Meanwhile, the merger would benefit Jewish & St. Mary's by allowing it expand its tertiary care offerings to its pool of insured patients.

To learn more:
- read the Courier-Journal article