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U of L Trustees Board Approves Process to Complete Merger Talks

The University of Louisville Medical Center is inching closer to securing a merging partner, which officials say could come in the next several weeks.U of L’s Board of Trustees authorized the school’s vice president of health affairs, Dr. David Dunn, to complete negotiations with finalists, whose names are being kept quiet during the negotiating process.After a potential merger with Catholic Health Initiatives and Jewish Hospital fell through, UMC opened the merger to a bidding process.UMC hoped to find a partner in September, but officials said they needed more time. Spokesman Gary Manz says at least two organizations are in final conversations with U of L officials and UMC.“We have stated previously that we would like to have this done before the end of the year. We are hoping that it will be done within the next several weeks," said Manz.The agreement must be approved by the university medical board and the state. Gov. Steve Beshear rejected the proposed merger late last year with CHI and Jewish Hospital, saying UMC could be compromised as a public entity.“The state will have to review whatever the final agreement is because there will be an academic affiliation and that is in the purview of the state to review that," said Manz.There were several outspoken critics of the potential merger last year, which would have given some of U of L's power over to CHI. The new healthcare system would have cut contraceptive distributions in the hospitals and moved tubal ligations to Baptist Hospital East.UMC and U of L Hospital has been losing money and its indigent care was criticized in a state audit this year for lack of oversight. The hospitals that did end up merging created a new healthcare system called KentuckyOne Health, which plans to invest $325 million over the next several years.