Healthcare Partnership Targets KY's Medically Underserved

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 15, 2011

Three major healthcare organizations in Kentucky announced plans Tuesday to form a statewide healthcare system.

The system will include the University of Louisville Hospital/James Graham Brown Cancer Center; Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare based in Louisville, and Saint Joseph Health System based in Lexington.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association rank Kentucky among the 10 states with the worst health indicators in the nation for cancer, obesity and death due to heart disease and stroke. More than half of the state is designated as medically underserved and there is a growing scarcity of physicians across Kentucky.

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"There is so much more we can accomplish together. Most important, we will be increasing access to basic and advanced health services," Bob Hewett, who will be the first chair of the system's community board of trustees, said in a media release. "That will lead to improving the health not only of individual patients, but of entire communities. At the same time, we will work to lower costs as we advocate for the poor and underserved in our communities."

The sponsors are Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services, University of Louisville, Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, and its affiliate Saint Joseph Health System. Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare formed in 2005 in a joint venture of Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services and CHI.

The network will include hospitals, clinics, specialty institutions, home health agencies, satellite primary care centers and physician groups with 91 locations combined.

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