A lawsuit has been filed in the wake of a partnership announced by Kentucky's two children's hospitals.
Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville and the University of Kentucky HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington said last month that both institutions had signed a letter of intent to partner.
The announcement brought a quick reaction from the University of Louisville, which said the partnership could jeopardize U of L's relationship with Norton Healthcare, which owns Kosair. U of L then accused Norton of violating a land-lease agreement by entering into the partnership.
The Courier-Journal reports Norton Healthcare filed suit on Friday and requested the court "to declare (University of Louisville) threats against Kosair Children's Hospital to be without legal basis."
U of L called the filing of the lawsuit "unfortunate."
Officials with Norton Healthcare have rejected the University of Louisville’s request that they end their recently announced pediatric services partnership with UK Healthcare.
University of Louisville’s health care entity partners with Norton, which owns Kosair Children’s Hospital. The hospital sits on state-owned land and under state rules it must be used for the benefit of U of L and the citizens of the Commonwealth.
U of L officials say Norton’s partnership with UK violates that agreement, and last week they sent Norton a letter demanding that they end the agreement with UK within 30 days and instead negotiate a new contract with U of L.
This week Norton sent its own letter saying there are no legal grounds for the demands, adding there’s nothing in the agreement with the state that gives U of L a monopoly on Kosair Children’s Hospital.
U of L is threatening legal action once the 30 days are up and has requested that the Attorney General’s office look into the matter.
The University of Louisville is giving Norton Healthcare 30 days to back out of an agreement with the University of Kentucky to jointly operate Kosair Children's Hospital.
Norton announced the partnership last week, saying it wanted to strengthen pediatric care in the commonwealth. This surprised U of L officials, who have also been trying to negotiate a similar contract with Norton. U of L says the lease agreement for Kosair says the property "shall be used for the benefit of the University of Louisville."
U of L Vice President of Health Affairs David Dunn says the school has already acted on the assumption it would further partner with Norton and Kosair. He says the school has spent millions of dollars expanding operations at the hospital, and he expected to be reimbursed under an eventual partnership.
“And they’ve [U of L] done it with the understanding that Norton at some point—we thought it was a long time ago—would make good on their promises, and these are verbal promises.”