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County enters hospital management agreement with Ochsner

BAY ST. LOUIS — The Hancock Board of Supervisors voted to enter into a 90-day management agreement with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans to manage Hancock Medical Center.

Yesterday’s announcement comes less than a week after the supervisors terminated its management contract with Quorum Health Resources. The Hancock Medical Center is owned by the county.

CEO of Ochsner-North Shore Region, Polly Davenport tells The Sun Herald that the goal is to maintain a local option for the county.

“Oschner’s mission is to be collaborative and keep health care local,” she said, noting that Oschner and Hancock have had a working relationship.

Board of Trustees president J. Larry Ladner said the hospital board realizes it must maintain a health care option for the county.

“We were overwhelmed at the task in front of us. The only thing that came through loud and clear is we must have a hospital in Hancock County,” he said. “We believe we can accomplish the goal of building a model hospital for a model community.”

In early August, Hancock Medical Center asked supervisors to borrow $6.1 million in bonds to help the county-owned hospital finish construction.

The bond request was made in the same time frame as layoffs and cutbacks to employee hours at the hospital. The hospital also reported nearly $11 million in uncompensated medical care, dating back 12 months, and decreasing health care reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare.

Supervisor Lisa Cowand said supervisors are instead looking into a line of credit because ongoing hospital construction is ahead of schedule.

Ochsner Health System runs nine hospitals in southeast Louisiana, including one in Slidell, as well as a series of clinics and medical offices. The private, not-for-profit system employs more than 14,000 workers and 900 physicians.

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