Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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JEFFERSON PARISH, La. - Jefferson Parish Councilman At-Large Chris Roberts announced that Ochsner Health System has withdrawn its bid to run East Jefferson General Hospital.

The announcement came ahead of a Jefferson Parish Council meeting in which the council was supposed to ratify and adopt each hospital board's selection for a private partner.

West Jefferson Medical Center had decided to partner up with Louisiana Children's Medical Center (LCMC Health).

Ochsner was the last finalist left, bidding on a long term contract to lease the Metairie hospital, East Jefferson General Hospital.

'After careful consideration, Ochsner Health System has made the decision to withdraw from the process to select a partner to lease East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH),' said Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System. 'We recognize how important this selection process is to the Parish Council and citizens of Jefferson Parish, however, Ochsner feels that this decision is in the best interest of our patients, caregivers and employees.'

East Jefferson Chairman Sheriff Newell Normand said his board needed more time to review a deal on the table with Ochsner. That deal is now apparently off. Normand reacted to Ochsner dropping out of contention to lease EJ by saying, 'We were not aligned.' He said there were potential anti-trust issues and staffing conflicts with Ochsner. Two other national hospital systems have expressed some interest in leasing East Jefferson, Normand said, though he did not name the companies.

Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Elton Lagasse says he is disappointed that it appears 'East Jefferson is back to square one' in picking private partner.

Monday, West Jefferson Medical Center's Board of Directors voted to begin negotiations with LCMC Health. A spokesperson for LCMC Health said Wednesday morning it is interested leasing East Jefferson, but an expert hired by council says LCMC Health can't afford it.

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