Our Views: Pause needed in selection

We’re glad that the Jefferson Parish inspector general is actively involved in overseeing the process to select a private company to run the parish’s two public hospitals.

We don’t yet know what the report from Inspector General David McClintock will say. But at the very least, McClintock’s publicly stated intention to release the report has brought about a much-needed pause in the controversial process to determine who will operate a couple of very important health institutions in Jefferson Parish.

The Jefferson Parish Council was scheduled to pick a company this week to operate East Jefferson General Hospital and West Jefferson Medical Center. But news that McClintock’s report is in the works prompted a delay in the council’s decision. Council members made the right move in waiting on McClintock’s insights before moving ahead.

That kind of restraint seems to belatedly acknowledge the need for accountability in a process that’s too often left the public on the sidelines.

Much of the discussion regarding which company should manage the hospitals has occurred in closed-door meetings between the two public hospital boards. An unwise provision of the Louisiana Open Meetings Law allows public hospital boards to deliberate on certain important decisions regarding hospital management outside of public view. That’s a disservice to taxpayers — and to the patients who depend on the hospitals for quality health care.

We look forward to reviewing McClintock’s report. We hope it advances an open discussion of the hospitals’ future. Such transparency has been delayed too long, but late is better than never.