Another bidder to run Jeff Parish public hospital threatens to drop out


Posted on July 10, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 10 at 6:36 PM

METAIRIE, La. - From three to one to none? 
That's the latest possibility in the Jefferson Parish public hospital fight.

The last group in talks to run West Jefferson Medical Center says its integrity has been attacked in the process and it'll break off negotiations if current terms continue.

Eyewitness News has learned that LCMC Health, the non profit board that operates Children's Hospital, is disappointed and frustrated with the ongoing talks to iron out a lease to operate WJMC. 

In a letter written Wednesday to Jefferson Parish council members, and obtained exclusively by Eyewitness News, the LCMC board called the process dysfunctional, and long and tortured. It stated that the council should make efforts to repair the damage done amid false accusations, that LCMC changed the deal and lowered its cash offer to take over the hospital.

Thursday morning the parish council met behind closed doors with attorneys, the I.G., financial consultants, and WJMC's CEO and board chairman. 

The executive session lasted two hours and 45 minutes, yet no one would give out details. The parish attorney simply said that the negotiations will continue.

"This is the first time we've had a chance to talk to them about how far they were going along, and that's all that was done. We just discussed it. No decisions were made and they're continuing to negotiate," said Elton Lagasse, Chairman of the Jefferson Parish Council.

When asked about the LCMC e-mail message, Lagasse had this to say.

"I'm not familiar with what they're talking about. I had not spoken to them. You know, I saw a copy of the e-mail, but that's it," said Lagasse.

He did say this is a very serious negotiation with differences and high and low points, and that negotiators should report back to the council with  anything it needs to know.

As for Jefferson's other public hospital, so far East Jefferson General Hospital is without a partner to run the hospital and sources say the prospects are not very good.