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Healthcare Consolidation Happens Quickly in Kentucky

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, December 17, 2010

Experts have been predicting consolidation in the healthcare industry for years, but it's never really happened on the scale the soothsayers anticipated. But now, they may finally be right. I know, it's a little like the boy who cried "wolf" to say that it's different this time, but I believe it, for a variety of reasons. Two announcements that came blowing out of Kentucky last month have convinced me it's for real this time.

Maybe you missed the early signs of a wave of consolidation in healthcare, brought about in large part because of the healthcare reform legislation that passed earlier in the year. I know I missed it initially. During all the craziness surrounding the November elections, it was easy to get distracted.

In this case, it happened in Kentucky, in two separate moves that basically divide the state into two large regional health systems, each with an academic side. Some would take issue with that characterization, but here are the particulars:

  • Lexington-based UK HealthCare and Norton Healthcare, the Commonwealth's largest health system, have announced their intent to formalize a longstanding working relationship through an "alliance" to bolstering teaching and clinical programs.
  • The nonprofit companies that operate three of Kentucky's largest hospital networks—Saint Joseph Health Systems, University of Louisville Hospital, and Jewish Hospital—intend to merge under an agreement approved by U of L trustees in November. They hope to complete the merger within a year.

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1 comments on "Healthcare Consolidation Happens Quickly in Kentucky"


Fred Jackson President/CEO KDMC (12/20/2010 at 9:26 AM)
I think the author better review their facts before drawing the conclusions from this article. University of Louisville Med. Ctr, financially strapped and close to bankruptcy for some time (this is their third partner affiliation in a decade, by the way, the other two failed), is merging with Jewish, also close to bankrupt for 5 years, all to be taken over by CHI. Norton and UK, not to be out done by U of L, put their clinical deal only together largely because U of L will put residents in Lexington at St. Joseph's, a CHI facility.If you know anything about the politics of U of L and UK, they dislike each other greatly. This has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RECESSION OR OBAMCACE OR THE GOVERNMMENT.There is also a very strong question as to whether either deal will happen or ultimately work. You are drawing conclusions not based on what's happening in Kentucky. Get the facts before you print.