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U of L Extends Agreement With Jewish Hospital As It Explores Potential Partner For Acquisition

Courtesy KentuckyOne Health

The University of Louisville is extending its agreement with the company that owns Jewish Hospital for another 90 days, while it works to figure out how to move forward.

Jewish Hospital, as well as the Frazier Rehab Institute and other KentuckyOne Health facilities have been up for sale since 2017. The properties are owned by CommonSpirit Health, which until recently was called Catholic Health Initiatives. The 462-bed Jewish Hospital has been struggling financially; last year, the Courier Journal reported: “Jewish and Saints Mary and Elizabeth Hospital lost a combined $41 million in operating earnings during the nine months ended in March [2018].”

But U of L Health and Jewish Hospital have long relied on each other. As laid out in the Academic Affiliation Agreement, the hospital’s parent company pays U of L millions of dollars every year; in return, U of L physicians practice at Jewish Hospital (and the Frazier Rehab Institute). Jewish is home to U of L’s cardiology and transplant program, and some U of L medical students do their residencies there.

Earlier this year, U of L announced it was exploring a purchase of Jewish Hospital, and issued a request for proposals for a potential partner. In a letter sent to the university community Monday, U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said the RFP didn’t produce a suitable partnership.

“Several potential partners told us they simply needed more time to review the opportunity and present a strong proposal,” she wrote.

The current academic affiliation agreement expired Saturday; the 90-day extension means U of L professors will continue to teach at Jewish Hospital and U of L residents will continue to practice there for the time being. U of L has hired Cain Brothers, a private health care investment banking firm, to work with potential partners.

“Our goal is to reach a definitive agreement with CommonSpirit Health by June 30,” Bendapudi wrote. “The extension from CommonSpirit will allow us to be more thoughtful and deliberate in our efforts.”

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.