Under a contract that is drawing criticism, the University of Louisville Foundation is paying ex-state Democratic Party chairman Jerry Johnson $200,000 this year to advise U of L President James Ramsey on the hospital merger. The foundation hired Johnson, a former hospital administrator, in January under a one-year $200,000 contract "regarding financial and clinical issues" stemming from the merger of University Hospital, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and the Lexington-based St. Joseph Health System, owned by Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver. Johnson worked as an aide to Gov. Paul Patton throughout his 1995-2003 administration, except for six months in 2002, when Patton named him chairman of the state party. He later worked for about five years at Pikeville Medical Center but resigned that job a year ago. The no-bid contract says that the services Johnson is providing were unavailable within the university's staff. In addition to the $200,000 in fees for Johnson, the contract allows up to $25,000 in "normal travel and entertainment" expenses.