Ochsner CEO says no layoffs planned at St. Charles Parish Hospital

St. Charles Parish Hospital has announced they are heading toward an agreement that would put the day-to-day management of the hospital in the hands of the Ochsner Health System.

Over the past few years, Ochsner has steadily increased its presence at St. Charles Parish Hospital including staffing several areas of the facility with their doctors. Some of the services Ochsner already offers include the telestroke program, neurology services and primary care services.

“We’ve been working closely with St. Charles Parish Hospital since 2008. Over the past six months, we saw an opportunity to expand this strategic relationship to create a unique, integrated environment in which each organization can share best practices, expand services and implement advanced patient-centered technology,” Warner L. Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, said.

By assuming management of St. Charles Parish Hospital’s operations, Ochsner said they should be able to decrease healthcare costs.

“As we have demonstrated through success in other relationships, efficiencies to reduce supply costs, implementation of quality best practices and integrated technology support the overall reduction in the cost of care,” Thomas said.

Under the agreement, the hospital property will remain in the hands of St. Charles Parish and under the control of the St. Charles Parish Hospital Service District Board that is made up of members appointed by the St. Charles Parish Council.

Thomas said although the details of the agreement are still being worked out, both St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre and the Parish Council have had a chance to vet the partnership prior to the announcement of the cooperative agreement.

“We are signaling our intent to expand our affiliation as our teams currently work through the details. Over time, the two organizations intend to more fully integrate St. Charles Parish Hospital into the Ochsner system from all perspectives to improve both financial and clinical performance,” Thomas said.

St. Charles Parish Hospital CEO Federico Martinez, who will now become an Ochsner employee, declined to speak about the agreement and directed all requests for comment to Ochsner. Thomas said Martinez’s role is unlikely to change under the new agreement.

“Fred Martinez will become an employee of Ochsner Health System and we anticipate that his title and role will remain materially the same,” he said.

For other St. Charles Parish Hospital employees who now face being brought into a larger system and having a new employer, the ramifications are unclear.

“There are no layoffs planned. At this time, our teams are currently working through the details of the final agreement and our goal is to work corroboratively to expand services, not decrease them,” Thomas said.

The move comes after several large investments by St. Charles Parish Hospital, including the recent groundbreaking on a $15 million East Bank facility to be completed next year and the finalization of a $2.4 million cardiac catheterization lab. Other recent improvements include a new $3.4 million emergency room that opened in 2012 and a $660,000 overhaul of the parish’s ambulance fleet.


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