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Louisville residents air concerns on hospital merger

The Courier-Journal, October 21, 2011
A forum Thursday evening allowed western Louisville residents to voice their concerns on the proposed merger of two Louisville hospitals with an organization of Catholic hospitals. Many concerns centered around the treatment of women and how the merger would dictate where women would receive birth-related or contraceptive treatment. "Women are the ones who are going to be hit the hardest," resident Nancy Demartra said at the event, which was held at the Kentucky African American Heritage Center and sponsored by the African American Think Tank. About 25 people attended. Demartra said her biggest issue with the merger would be the injection of religious views into hospital decision-making. The merger would unite University Hospital, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and the St. Joseph Health System of Lexington, which is owned by Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives. Under the merger, CHI would have majority ownership, and officials have said they wouldn't perform certain procedures prohibited by Catholic health rules, such as sterilizations. Residents and community and state leaders have expressed concerns about what this would mean for reproductive and end-of-life services.

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