Catholic Health merger actions under annual religious review

Following the controversial Kentucky merger, the Louisville Archbishop will annually check up on Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) to ensure its actions remain in compliance with Catholic healthcare directives under its partnership with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare, reported the Louisville Courier-Journal.

According to Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, CHI already has agreed to the review.

The terms of the merger call for the traditionally Catholic hospitals to continue to follow all of the directives, while "legacy" Jewish Hospital facilities only need partial compliance, which includes not performing elective abortions, sterilizations or fertility treatments, the article noted.

Community members took issue with the Catholic healthcare directives and former merger participant University Hospital, worrying that the merger of a Catholic hospital and a non-Catholic hospital would affect reproductive services for women and end-of-life care at the public facility.

"My involvement is in preserving a morally sound Catholic identity and in making sure that our healthcare institutions are faithful to the call of the Church to make healthcare accessible to as many as possible, especially the poor and vulnerable," Kurtz told the Courier-Journal.

The Archbishop didn't see any "moral" problems with University Hospital joining the new KentuckyOne Health. However, state Gov. Steve Beshear (D-Ky.) rejected its participation in the merger, leaving Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare to proceed without University Hospital. Beshear feared the deal would have risked University's public control, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Courier-Journal article
- here's the FierceHealthFinance article