Economist releases report on hospital merger

An economist who reviewed a hospital merger proposal recommends establishing a foundation to assure that local interests are served.

Northwestern University economist David Dranove reviewed the proposed merger of University Hospital with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System in Lexington.

Dranove's report, which was released Wednesday, says "a dire financial future" could be in store for University Hospital if the merger isn't approved, The Courier-Journal reported. But it also said the hospital's mission to serve the poor is at risk if the merger is approved.

He says a locally controlled board should be appointed to oversee mission-related activities at the hospital.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell asked for the report and said he is forwarding it on to Gov. Steve Beshear, who must decide on the merger.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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