The Jefferson Parish Council could vote tomorrow on the proposed lease of the parish's two publicly-owned hospitals. That's the topic of this week's Commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

For more than a year now, the Jefferson Parish Council has been haggling over the idea of leasing the parish's two public hospitals to a private operator. The process of picking an operator has not been easy or transparent.

Last month, then-Council chair Chris Roberts called for an independent review of competing proposals from Children's Hospital, Ochsner Health System and HCA. Now, Roberts and current Council chair Elton Lagasse want a decision this week.

In many ways, that's typical of how the council has handled this issue: one step forward, two steps back. The three suitors submitted revised proposals last week, but the council kept those proposals under wraps until yesterday.

Also yesterday, two Jefferson business groups announced their opposition to taking a final vote this week. Those business groups are correct. Why the big rush now, after months of behind-the-scenes jockeying? More important, why not get an independent review of the latest proposals?

Leasing the two public hospitals is arguably Jefferson Parish's biggest policy decision in a generation. Jefferson taxpayers deserve a thorough review, and a transparent process, before a final decision is made.


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