Local groups call for letter-writing campaign against hospital merger

(From The Louisville Cardinal)

By Rae Hodge–

As University Hospital enters into its lawsuit against WHAS, the Courier-Journal and the ACLU, voices of concern continue to rise from women’s health groups on the University of Louisville’s campus and from indigent care advocates in the community.

The Feminist Alliance of the University of Louisville (FAUL) is calling for an end to the proposed merger between University Hospital, Jewish Hospital, St. Mary’s HealthCare and Lexington-based St. Joseph Health System, who have have agreed to honor Catholic policies.

FAUL expressed concern over the lack of options it will provide for women’s care in the future, noting birth control pills and sterilizations will no longer be available through the facility.

The alliance also expressed alarm at the lack of training it will provide medical students on women’s health procedures.

On their website, FAUL quotes U of L’s website, stating, “University of Louisville Hospital ‘serves as the major teaching hospital for University of Louisville students and house officers.’ Thus, their standard of, and access to, training will be affected by the merger.”

FAUL is one among many local groups that are currently calling for letter-writing campaigns and other political activism to fight the merger.

Becker’s Hospital Review notes that current employees of the hospitals are likely to lose some of their current health care benefits.

“Ninety percent of women at some point use contraception,” Kentucky Rep. Mary Lou Marzain, a retired nurse who formerly worked for Jewish Hospital and the University of Louisville, said. “Why make women pay more? Why let religion dictate whether or not someone who works for them gets these services covered?”

Concerns have been voiced by members of the community that University Hospital will no longer be able to function as the health care safety net of the economically disadvantaged or that the quality of the care may suffer, although the University Hospital would still receive public funds from those individuals.

The Courier-Journal reported that last year alone University Hospital received $61 million from the state and $7 million from the city for indigent care.

Photo: Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal

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