LSU-HSC/OCHSNER DEAL - A new company jointly controlled by Louisiana State University and Ochsner Health System will take control of the state-owned / safety net hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe on Oct. 1st. That’s the deal that was officially announced yesterday by Governor John Bel Edwards. Speaking before a packed auditorium at LSU-Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Edwards stressed that the arrangement is an equitable package deal.
Edwards said, “This is a true 50-50 partnership where LSU Health/Shreveport and Ochsner are going to form a new health system to oversee and coordinate acrtivities between the health sciences center and the healthcare delivery system”
The partnership comes after years of back-and-forth disagreements between the LSU System and BRF, formerly known as the BioMedical Research Foundation which took over management of both safety-net hospitals in North Louisiana in 2013 under then Governor Bobby Jindal’s privatization plan. Over the past years, LSU has accused BRF of failing to provide a sustainable financial model that threatened the stability of both the medical school and the hospitals. There had been concerns that the medical school in Shreveport might be closed. But after the Governor’s announcement yesterday, LSU System president F. King Alexander said this new partnership allows both the hospitals and the medical school to move forward.
Alexander said, “We're not recoiling and we're not playing defense anymore. We'll actually will have some revenues to work with Ochsner that will help us expand, recruit, the best students , recruit the best faculty and to grow what we're doing up here because the healthcare needs up here are just expanding throughout northwest and northeast Louisiana. And we want to tackle these with our talents and our students and we're the main resource in this region to tackle the healthcare needs of the region. ”
Asked if this partnership helps healthcare in North Louisiana turn a corner, Alexander replied " I think absolutely and in fact the more students we can attract and retain, the more healthcare professionals we'll keep in Louisiana."
State Representative Sam Jenkins, Jr of District 2 in Shreveport observed that the Ochsner-LSU partnership will impact healthcare, the local economy and encourage more medical research.
Jenkins explained, “This is the culmination of a good effort to make sure we're doing several things. Number 1: keeping the medical school in this area, Number 2: have an economic engine that we need to secure the economy in this area; but more importantly to making sure that we're meeting the healthcare needs of people not only in the northwest Louisiana area but can we reach out now and begin to address those medical needs and medical research issues around the world.”
Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana's largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system and is expected to offer stability to the operations of University Health Shreveport and University Health Monroe. It is expected to start investing in hospital improvements immediately. About 3,000 people who work at the hospitals will ultimately become Ochsner employees.