Jefferson to hold public meetings on hospitals’ future

Jefferson Parish weighs proposals

The Jefferson Parish Council will hold two public meetings this month prior to scheduling a vote on which of three companies will take over the parish’s two public hospitals.

The meetings, which will be held Dec. 9 in the General Government Building in Gretna and Dec. 17 in the Yenni Building in Elmwood, will include an opportunity for the public to comment on the future of West Jefferson Medical Center and East Jefferson General Hospital. Both meetings will start at 6 p.m.

Council President Chris Roberts previously had announced plans for the meetings as one of the last stages in the process of selecting among the three finalists: HCA, Louisiana Children’s Medical Center and Ochsner Health System. Council members have been discussing the decision for months, ever since the boards of the two parish hospitals deadlocked on a recommendation in the summer.

The council is split between selecting Children’s to run both hospitals and leasing the East Jefferson facility to HCA and the West Bank hospital to Children’s.

Roberts also has called for hiring an independent auditor to verify the proceeds the parish would receive under each applicant’s proposal.

On Tuesday, Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock publicly released a copy of his report on the selection process, which calls for officials to open final negotiations with multiple companies simultaneously and provide a more open process going forward. The report also recommends restarting the selection process if the decision is to split the hospitals.