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University of Louisville, Norton Settle Long-Running Dispute Over Kosair

University of Louisville and Norton Healthcare have reached an agreement to settle the ongoing dispute over Kosair Children's Hospital.

Neither side would release details of the agreement on Friday, saying other parties had yet to sign off.

Tensions arose in 2013 between the two organizations following Norton's announcement that it would partner with University of Kentucky to offer pediatric care. Norton owns Kosair hospital, which is built on land owned by the state. Under a long-standing arrangement, Norton leased the property under a condition that it be used in a way that benefited U of L.

U of L, which uses Kosair hospital as a teaching hospital for pediatric care, later claimed Norton hadn't kept its lease agreement.

Larry Benz, chairman of U of L's board of trustees, said after days of mediation, representatives came to an agreement on three key things: the land lease, the master affiliation agreement, and the settlement.

On Friday morning, Norton's board of directors approved the deal, as did the executive committee designated by U of L's board of trustees. U of L Physicians, which is party to the university's agreement with Norton, had yet to vote on the agreement.

Benz said state government entities — including the finance cabinet — would also have to sign off on the agreement.

"We're definitely very excited about the long-term commitments that Norton and University of Louisville have with Kosair Children's Hospital," Benz said. "Going forward, we believe that the real beneficiaries are the children and pediatric patients."

U of L spokesman John Karman called it a "good day for the children of Kentucky." He confirmed that details of the agreements would be released Monday.

A spokesperson for Norton did not respond to a request for comment.

As for the relationship between the two organizations, Benz said there have been meaningful conversations about differentiating between the past and future.

"At the end of the day you move well beyond that," Benz said of the two-year dispute. "We're talking about some of the best physicians and surgeons and medical personal and administrators in our region, not just in the state."

U of L and Norton plan to release a joint statement with details of the agreement Monday, according to Benz.

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