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Board of Health, African American Think Tank Gathering Questions on Hospital Merger

The pending merger between area healthcare providers has drawn a number of questions from the community, and two organizations are aiming to get answers.The Board of Health and the African American Think Tank each held public forums on the merger last week. University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives are set to form a statewide network. But contractual language on which procedures banned under Catholic doctrine will and will not be allowed at U of L hospital has not been completed or released to the public.The partners attended the Board of Health forum last week and gave some answers, but time ran out before many questions from the audience were addressed. The board will continue to gather questions and pass them on to the merging partners."Now that the community has an opportunity to ask us questions and weigh in, we want to be able to continue this dialogue as soon as possible," says Chairman Bill Altman.The African American Think Tank's forum was meant to gather questions from west and southwest Louisville. Reverend Gerome Sutton attended the Board of Health forum, and he doesn't think the partners are being open about the merger, specifically which procedures will be banned or could be changed. "Some of this stuff is already in writing, but they have not released it," he says. "They just have not put it out there yet. They're holding it close to them and we're saying they need to release this stuff and let us know. It's insufferable."The think tank will meet again next month to discuss the merger and prepare questions for the partners.Sutton also says information has not been disseminated to members of the community who do not subscribe to the newspaper or have Internet access, and he hopes the think tank can spread the information.

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.