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Hospital Merger Critics Declare Victory

Governor Steve Beshear hasblocked the proposed merger between University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish/St. Mary's Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives. The news was a blow to the hospitals, which saw the merger as a solution to their various financial problems. But a grassroots group that took issue with the merger is celebrating.Organizer Honi Goldman says the group wasn’t against the merger itself, but rather various stipulations of the merger. One of the big concerns was the amount of money Denver-based CHI would get from the deal.“We’re opposed to having Kentucky dollars go to any corporation, whether it be CHI or Kraft Foods. Kentucky dollars need to stay in Kentucky.”Other concerns focused on the role religion would play in the merger.“I think a healthy start would be to remove any sort of restrictions on physicians practicing medicine,” said attorney and former nurse Beverly Glascock. “And whether those restrictions are based on religion or based on ‘we just want to save money,’ any kind of restrictions on the physician’s ability to deliver the best standard care to the patients is a problem.”The hospitals have said they will continue to work together, and aim to correct what they call “inaccuracies” in the report prepared for Beshear by Attorney General Jack Conway.