In a special meeting on Wednesday, the LSU Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a decision to privatize the University-run hospital Bogalusa Medical Center.
The Bogalusa Medical Center will be leased by NEWCO, a Louisiana nonprofit corporation. The hospital will act as a private enterprise “to serve and enhance opportunities to achieve Louisiana’s medical education, clinical care and research goals,” according to the meeting agenda.
Before its approval, K. Brad Ott, director of Advocates for Louisiana Public Healthcare, raised concerns.
“I’m disturbed that this board once again is contemplating approving an agreement that has blanks in it, that has no financial details,” Ott said.
He said the details were not posted on the website within 24 hours in advance of the meeting, meaning less people would have time to read over the agreement.
Ott also said the privatization of BMC would erase the traditions of the hospital, force employees from their jobs and cause them to lose their retirement and benefits.
Ott then alleged the board members acted in their own self-interest of politics rather than doing right by the healthcare system.
“I don’t know how you sleep at night,” Ott said. “Perhaps, you delude yourselves, and now, you’ve gone to one additional level, coming up with this stock corporation known as NEWCO.”
But several of the board members stated their satisfaction with the public and private agreements.
Board member Rolfe McCollister said he has been pleased with the partnerships, especially since Louisiana is the only state in the nation with a statewide safety net system.
“I think we’re going to see excellent patient care, more efficiency, better equipment, more services altered, and we’ll stand by our decision,” McCollister said. “I sleep very well at night.”
Frank Opelka, executive vice president of healthcare and medical education redesign, said his group is sympathetic to their employees, and they are trying to stabilize and grow their future employment through the partnership.