Saturday, February 23, 2019

Jewish Hospital deal could prime University of Louisville for growth 

Buying Jewish Hospital and other local KentuckyOne Health facilities could prime the University of Louisville for significant growth, experts say, although it could also bring some challenges.

Colleges across the country, such as Georgia's Emory University, have been growing their clinical operations through mergers, acquisitions and partnerships, said Dr. Janis Orlowski, the Association of American Medical Colleges' chief health care officer.

"Absolutely, I'm seeing it everywhere," she said.

After major changes in leadership, U of L is mulling similar moves. This week, it launched a request for proposals from potential partners interested in forming a joint venture to acquire and manage Jewish Hospital, the Frazier Rehab Institute, Our Lady of Peace psychiatric hospital and other KentuckyOne Health assets in the Louisville area.

Orlowski, who visited U of L last year, said the university's leaders have big plans and a good mission but appear to need more capital to expand their clinical and research efforts.

One early challenge U of L could face is finding a business or other organization to partner with that has a compatible vision of how to run Jewish Hospital and the other health care operations that potentially could become part of the proposed joint venture, such as U of L Hospital and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Universities' clinical, educational and research missions are closely entwined, Orlowski said, and it's important for schools to choose partners that share their values.

"It's like selecting a spouse," she explained.

“I think they see an opportunity to grow the University of Louisville into a top-tier academic medical center. I think they're being very thoughtful about it.”

Janis Orlowski
University President Neeli Bendapudi said the goal is to find a partner that can finance the acquisition of Jewish and other KentuckyOne facilities and has the expertise necessary to help U of L manage those operations.

Bendapudi said this could be an opportunity to raise the profile of U of L's medical center, improve the university's research efforts and add more clinical sites, residencies and fellows for its health-related programs.


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