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Mediation Ordered in University of Louisville, Norton Dispute Over Kosair Children's Hospital

A judge has ordered the University of Louisville and Norton Healthcare into mediation in the on-going dispute over Kosair Children's Hospital.Norton operates Kosair Children's Hospital, which sits on state-owned land in downtown Louisville. Its lease calls for the land to be used to the benefit of the state and UofL. Norton announced over the summer that it'd agreed to partner in operating Kosair Children's and Lexington's Kentucky Children's Hospital with its operator, University of Kentucky HealthCare.Since then, Norton and Kosair Children's have engaged in public arguments, legal action and negotiations for a new academic affiliation agreement. Talks broke down last month.Norton officials have said they want to amend the lease.Last week, Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway called for both sides to enter third-party mediation. They said they'd only hear suggestions for "reasonable" lease amendments once a business deal has been negotiated.This week, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ordered just that.In response, Norton said: "We hope this mediation process will bring closure to what has been a lengthy and difficult effort for both parties.”And UofL said: "We are pleased that the Court has agreed with our motion to appoint a mediator to help us reach a mutually beneficial settlement with Norton. Our goal all along has been to resolve—without litigation—the issues related operating Kosair Children’s Hospital so more time and energy can be spent on treating sick children. We look forward to the mediation process and continue to believe that these issues can be resolved without costly, unnecessary litigation if the two sides can sit at the table and negotiate in good faith. This step from the Court allows that to happen."

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

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