Parish Council to take up Jefferson hospital deals on Monday

The boards of Jefferson Parish’s two public hospitals will meet next week to discuss proposals from three companies competing to take over the medical centers as a prelude to a Parish Council vote on the issue.

The council had initially suggested a vote could come this week. However, a joint meeting of the boards that govern East Jefferson General Hospital and West Jefferson Medical Center is now scheduled for Monday, with the council expected to take action sometime after that, East Jefferson CEO Mark Peters said after his board met Tuesday.

It’s not clear whether discussions during the two-hour East Jefferson board meeting, which was held in executive session, have brought that body any closer to making a recommendation to the council. Sources have said a previous joint meeting last month ended with a split between the two boards, with West Jefferson members unanimously recommending Louisiana Children’s Medical Center to run the hospitals while East Jefferson members largely preferring HCA.

But public presentations to the council last week raised questions about some aspects of HCA’s proposal.

In particular, council members expressed concern about a provision that would require the parish to pay back the company for part of the value of capital improvements made to the facilities at the end of the company’s 30-year lease.

That provision could cause some support to shift from HCA to either Children’s or to Ochsner Health System, which also put in a bid to run the hospitals.