For a long time Jefferson Parish residents, the East & West Jefferson hospitals have provided the security of quality healthcare close to our homes and families. After years of having political cronies on their boards, showering friends and political supporters with wealthy, no-bid contracts, both East & West Jefferson Hospitals claim they are running out of money (geaux figure!. The answer from their perspective is to offer a thirty year lease to a third party provider of healthcare services.
Three Knights in Shining Armor Arrive – two in town providers Children’s Hospital, Oschner Hospital, & one national company from Tennessee (HCA) made offers. Each of these offers were anywhere from $500 – $750 million to take over our hospitals. Let’s see if we understand, we can’t even break even and outsiders are willing to pay this kind of money to offer the same service and make money doing it? Duh!
So now, we have East Jefferson Hospital wanting one group (HCA) and West Jefferson Hospital wanting another (Children’s Hospital). Most confounding is that we as Jefferson Parish voters have paid a hospital consultant $1.3 million to tell us what to do. Now the consultant won’t give an opinion! Then, exactly what did we pay for?
Let’s look carefully at the three options:
- Children’s Hospital – these guys have been nationally recognized for their work with children for years. Only within the past few years did they rescue Touro Hospital and begin playing with full-service medical care. Now through what many consider their political influence with Bobby Jindal, they will be taking over the LSU hospital system in New Orleans when it finally reopens. For many they have yet to prove they can compete in full-service healthcare. How can they possibly do a better job than is being currently done, much less compete with HCA the only national healthcare company to make a proposal?
- Oschner Hospital – they have been in the Greater New Orleans area for years and have provided outstanding medical care in all areas of healthcare. Yet, neither East Jefferson or West Jefferson Hospital seems to favor them taking over their hospitals. Both whine that they can’t compete with large hospital groups, but don’t want to have Oschner take them over. Perhaps the current doctors in both hospitals (East & West Jefferson) realize their bargaining powers for their services will diminish greatly if Ochsner is selected. No longer could the physicians play one hospital against another for their services. Go back and look at the millions East & West Jefferson Hospitals spent buying doctor practices over the years just so the physicians would refer their patients to their hospitals. The gig would be up if Ochsner took over!
- HCA – this is a proven player in the national healthcare arena. They bring to the table the cutting edge technologies, state of art equipment, and the knowledge to put Jefferson Parish healthcare above any currently available in the GNO area. But, perhaps they would put an end to the “good ole boy” politics of Jefferson Parish. Cahill, Normand, Chris Roberts and all their cronies would have to find other, non-hospitals troughs to drink from!
For anyone in or out of healthcare, the selection of HCA should be simple. Yet, our politicians continue the behind the scenes “dealing” that we so often see in Louisiana politics. When will we finally demand transparency. The residents of Jefferson Parish will have to live with the results of this decision for 30 years.
Call, email, or write your council person and let them know this is not acceptable. Let’s make them do the right thing! And finally when election time comes next Fall, let’s make certain to remind them that we “truly remember” what they did to healthcare in Jefferson Parish.