Doing more, together

UofL and UMC team up with KentuckyOne Health.
By Chelsea Nichols

Thanks to shared missions and aligned visions, the University of Louisville (UofL) and University Medical Center (UMC) have teamed up with KentuckyOne Health. This brings together University Hospital and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center with KentuckyOne Health, of which Flaget Memorial Hospital is a part.
By solidifying its financial future, UMC can continue to carry out its mission to provide every patient with the highest level of care. “As the primary teaching hospital for the University of Louisville, it’s imperative that UMC thrives,” said Gary Mans, UofL communications and marketing director.

And thrive it will. As part of the new relationship, UofL, UMC and KentuckyOne entered an academic affiliation agreement. Ninety-five million dollars will pour into academic programs plus three million dollars will be provided annually to aid research. Training opportunities will increase for students and the university will have the resources needed to recruit faculty. If the resources aren’t enough to attract instructors and researchers, then being part of something original might help.

Unique Partnership
This partnership is unique in our country, Mans said. “We look forward to serving as a national model for how an inner-city, stand-alone teaching hospital is able to partner with a statewide, faith-based organization to improve the health and well-being of the people in our state,” he said. “Our faculty and healthcare professionals have the opportunity to be part of this unique partnership and the ability to help shape it to its success.”
UofL, UMC and KentuckyOne all desire to have a physician-led network. The combined staff accounts for 3,000 physicians across the state. With the guidance and governance of doctors from all parties success is possible.

Some Reservations
Support of the partnership from faculty, staff and students continue to grow, but not without reservations. Forums and other means of communication have been made available to express opinions and voice concerns.

“As can be imagined, people have asked a number of questions about what it means and how it will be implemented,” Mans said. “When they gain the understanding about what this means to the health sciences center in terms of resources to continue to move forward as an innovative health sciences center, they become very excited and want to be a part of it.”

Improved Health Management
Bottom-line the partnership means patients will have access to a statewide network of physicians and the latest technology. That’s a good thing.

“Kentucky faces serious health challenges including a significant shortage of physicians, a high incidence of disease and the fact that more than half the state is medically underserved,” said Ruth Brinkley, KentuckyOne Health CEO said. “Our combined size, scope and talent position us as the only system in Kentucky that can truly address population health management in a meaningful way. We will be able to reach farther, be better and do more, together.”

Women’s Health Services
UMC heard and took action on the concerns raised by the community. UMC made clear from the start of negotiations that the scope of women’s health services would not be diminished. Those services will take place at the University Hospital’s Center for Women and Infants (CWI), at the same location and by the same staff.
UMC will retain $17 million for UMC to operate the CWI and continue all services currently offered there. The CWI is already self-sustaining and with this funding, those services will grow and benefit through the continued oversight, and funding, by UMC. CWI will also undergo approximately $15 million in physical upgrades and renovations.

The clinical programs and services currently available at UMC will not change as a result of this partnership, including women’s reproductive health, pharmacy and end of life services. Existing Commonwealth law prohibits elective abortions at University Hospital.

Employee insurance will include coverage for reproductive services and related prescription medicine, as required under federal law.


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