KentuckyOne gets nearly $700,000 from Catholic Health | News
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - KentuckyOne, the state's newest healthcare company, a result of the merger of Jewish & St. Mary's HealthCare and the St. Joseph Health System, recently received $690,000 from Catholic Health Initiative's Mission and Ministry Fund.
The three-year grant is designed to attack the root causes of the poor health of Kentuckians.
In an exclusive interview with WAVE 3, Chief Executive Officer Ruth Brinkley said her mission is what she calls Community Health Equity.
"It means going to the communities, understanding what's important to those communities in relating to people in a cultural way that's acceptable to them, and helping people to take responsibility for their health care," Brinkley said.
The merger of the two major hospital systems in Kentucky was perhaps the most controversial business transaction the community has seen. Originally proposed to involve University Hospital, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare, and Saint Joseph Health System, the result is the state's largest healthcare system that does not include University Hospital.
"I'd like to congratulate the people who had the presence of mind and nimbleness to join the two organizations together even though the third organization was not able to come in," said Brinkley. "And so what I really want the community to focus on is KentuckyOne Health which is the merger of Jewish and the Saint Joe's (Health) System."
Seven months after the dust settled from the merger, Brinkley addressed some hot button topics. She said she supports President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
"We are quite pleased that the Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court; and it will help us in our efforts," Brinkley said. But that measure also mandates the company cover birth control for its employees, something that goes against church doctrine.
"In the Affordable Care Act, there are provisions that require organizations provide birth control services for patients and employees. We will follow the law," said Brinkley. "Now there are certain things that, because of our background and our church-related emphasis on reproductive services, that we would hope that we would be able to work with legislators to modify that so that it's consistent with our church teachings. However, we will follow the law."
Brinkley is the most powerful healthcare executive in the Commonwealth. She oversees 200 facilities with more than 13,000 employees.
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