Report sought on hospitalís management, viability
Councilman wants third party to analyze hospital finances, board
Hogan is drafting a letter that will be sent on behalf of the Parish Council asking for a detailed reported concerning the Luling hospital’s performance, image, solvency, debt, income, management, board oversight and the pros and cons of an affiliation with Ochsner Health System.
“I want a complete analysis of the hospital’s condition, its prospects, future, how they are being managed and how the board is managed,” Hogan said. “This is so I can understand their position. I need to know and the people out there in the public need to know. (My constituents) are asking me those sorts of questions and I can’t answer them.”
Ochsner will take over the day-to-day management of St. Charles Parish Hospital under a new agreement announced in June. Ochsner said they will improve the efficiency of operations and expand services offered in St. Charles Parish. However, the Luling hospital has accumulated a $46 million debt, which Ochsner would not be responsible for.
Hogan’s resolution came after a committee meeting to discuss St. Charles Parish Hospital’s partnership with Ochsner was cancelled. He and other council members say that they have been told little about what the partnership entails.
Council Chairwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier said a detailed report may help answer some questions the Parish Council has about the potential merger.
“The questions are pretty straightforward. I think the same questions have been asked for a while now, we’ve gotten partial answers and some have not been answered. I think (the terms of the agreement) are unknown now and someone may not have all of these answers,” she said.
However, Fisher-Perrier was unsure about whether the council could afford to hire an outside party to perform such a detailed analysis of the hospital.
“It is going to cost some money and I don’t know if the council has that amount of money in our budget,” she said.
Hogan said it would be up the Hospital Service District Board, which is comprised of appointees who provide oversight of the hospital, to figure out how to make the investigation work.
“I want the board to figure it out, but I want it to be done by an outside, independent company. I want it where we make the selection (of the company), not the board, just so it is an unbiased report,” he said.
The Parish Council recently provided a $10 million loan to St. Charles Parish Hospital pursuant to the issuance of bonds that were passed by a taxpayer vote. Hogan said before another loan is provided to the hospital he would like to see an in-depth report on their finances and where they expect to be financially in years to come.
“We need to understand exactly what is going to transpire in the future of this hospital and its operations, especially when you know they are going to come back to the council for money somewhere down the line,” he said.
Quinn Landry, director of public relations and marketing for St. Charles Parish Hospital,† said in a statement that though the hospital has not yet received a request from the council for a detailed report, they have an obligation to participate in an annual audit and be transparent in their reporting.
“All financial statements are also public record,” Landry’s statement read. “ In addition, all Council members are invited to our monthly, public Board meetings so that they can obtain answers to any additional questions.”
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