LSU hospital deals pulled from agenda

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --LSU System executive vice president Frank Opelka, left,  talks with LSU Health New Orleans Chancellor Larry Hollier, right, before Opelka made a presentation to LSU Board of Supervisors at its meeting Friday. The board pulled from its Friday agenda an approval of deals that would privatize the operations of LSU hospitals in Bogalusa and Pineville. 'We are still in the process of a series of complex negotiations,' Opelka told the board concerning the Bogalusa deal. 'We hope to finalize it in about a week.' Show caption
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --LSU System executive vice president Frank Opelka, left, talks with LSU Health New Orleans Chancellor Larry Hollier, right, before Opelka made a presentation to LSU Board of Supervisors at its meeting Friday. The board pulled from its Friday agenda an approval of deals that would privatize the operations of LSU hospitals in Bogalusa and Pineville. 'We are still in the process of a series of complex negotiations,' Opelka told the board concerning the Bogalusa deal. 'We hope to finalize it in about a week.'

The LSU Board of Supervisors pulled from its Friday agenda approval of deals that would privatize the operations of LSU hospitals in Bogalusa and Pineville.

It is unclear when the agreements with private partners will again come up for board approval.

“We are still in the process of a series of complex negotiations,” LSU System executive vice president Frank Opelka told the board concerning the Bogalusa deal. “We hope to finalize it in about a week.”

After the meeting, Opelka declined to comment further. He also did not respond to emailed questions.

There was no report given on the status of negotiations involving the Pineville hospital. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said earlier that the hospital would stay open until hospital services could be moved to the England Air Park campus.

Administration spokesman Michael DiResto said it is anticipated that the LSU Board will meet again before the end of the month to take up the “cooperative endeavor agreements.”

Dates for privatization are Oct. 1 for Pineville and Jan. 1 for Bogalusa, DiResto said. He said there’s money in the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 for the hospitals and employees until then.

The LSU Board has approved privatization of seven of LSU’s 10 hospitals around the state. Action has taken place on Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma, Lake Charles, Shreveport and Monroe hospital operations.

LSU’s Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge closed April 15. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center took over inpatient and outpatient operations and became home-to-medical education programs.

The New Orleans, Lafayette and Houma transitions to private operation are scheduled to start June 24. The Shreveport and Monroe transitions are months away.

Pending is the Bogalusa deal with Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and the Pineville arrangement involving the England Economic and Industrial Development District.

The 10t h hospital — Lallie Kemp Medical Center in Independence — will remain an LSU hospital for now.

The board caught flak last week for giving the go-ahead to agreements that were incomplete and filled with blank pages where financial and other terms were supposed to be.

In an interview, state Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said officials of the Franciscan Missionaries told him earlier in the week that “there was no way” the Bogalusa agreement would be completed so the LSU Board could take it up Friday.

“It’s a massive agreement with lots of attorneys involved,” Nevers said.

Nevers said that the LSU Board did not want to be placed in the position of approving other hospital agreements with blank pages where important details are missing.

“I just assume the backlash ... probably created some questions around them,” Nevers said.