WWL>Topics>>1-16 3:10pm Open Mind: Jefferson Parish Hospitals

1-16 3:10pm Open Mind: Jefferson Parish Hospitals

Jan 16, 2014|

Angela talks to Todd Murphy of the Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director of the Jefferson Parish Business Council Tony Ligi, and Jefferson Parish President John Young about the future of the Jefferson Parish hospitals.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

While the Jefferson Parish council voted to delay a decision on which company will run the parish is to hospitals. Until an independent auditor can look at the proposals. Now offered by -- children's hospital and HCA. Who will run east and west Jefferson hospitals. May be the most important decision ever made by the council. Not everyone was for the delay. But two organizations who worm are with us today the Jefferson business council and the Jefferson chamber of commerce. Joining us from the business council is Tony Lee Jeans and from the chamber -- Murphy. And I appreciate both of you being here. Glad to be here thank you and we appreciate you haven't this is and I wanna say to all of our listening. Audience out there if you have any questions or any thoughts. On something as important as this and health care number one is huge but. Running these hospitals is major and if you have any thoughts at all please give us a call -- 260187. I'm gonna start with these two great guys who have come in to help. This is seemed and we've done several shows this so complicated. And so convoluted. Not diminishing effect that it is an enormous decision. But. How did get the sort of messed up. Well I think I think actually if this started you know over two years ago in the boards were. I really at an impasse both of the -- eastern half -- west Jeff and just trying to compete in this environment health care. And so there was an umbrella abort put together of of both the boards and and they put an RS PO quite frankly just to say who can come in and run these hospitals and and help the government. Maybe step aside from the day to day administration of healthcare yet still retain the valuable assets in Jefferson Parish. And so this process. Of gathering proposals went from understand originally about seventeen different suitors down to three. And at the end of the day which was in August of 2012 the two Boortz couldn't come to the decision. On who the suitors should beef to two -- and ultimately run hospital. -- but isn't. True that originally they form this umbrella organization called the third districts are correct that the they've been run independently to say you know what standalone hospitals are making it. Could and we -- prejudiced right so if we join together and if we get an a bigger operation. To lease it from us we will not only survive but perhaps do well for the pair's biggest the bottom line this is health care for Jefferson Parish residents. But there seemed to have been a fairly significant. Break just with the thought that. All of a sudden they're not interested or one is interest definitely in joining but now that -- know let's be run independently. One likes children's one likes HCA well doesn't that take away from the original thought of the importance of joining hands. Well it certainly could and and I think that's one of the questions. That. That this council is is certainly not undertake now the reason for this delay. Was to bring in someone that's independent and not just an independent art of its summit that would really terror part to proposals and do -- do our health care. Analysis and evaluation of these proposals. And and one of the recommended over the final recommendation came out of the former consultant. Was. You -- part ways and go it alone now. I think that that's all part of the process and and part of what they'll be looking at. Along with probably six or seven other factors if if not more as a really dig into one of the details of of these proposals. And I think I think is a good idea that the audit that will take place the independent audit. What we believe will have an evaluation of the proposals based on. An -- and opening -- one or nothing situation or a a split I correctly that's got to be done. You know look at it in terms of this is going to be a marriage between the the new operator and Jefferson Parish. And if if the marriage starts out rocky would go -- one board not accepting who the operator is going to be then. I think it's going to be a long road to -- for health for health care and Jefferson Parish. So you don't think at this point but there's anyway that east Jefferson would agree to children's. I think I think if there were quantifiable numbers. That everybody understood. And other reasons. I think to rule if there was a meeting of the minds the end the Jefferson Parish east Jefferson would agree to whomever came up with a the better numbers. And provided that there was not any other outside. Issues that would mitigate against those numbers. We had several other board members including share on for east Jefferson. One question option to join us and they chose not to. But at the same time. He's Jefferson was saying why they chose HCA and I just felt that it was. A bigger organization. Not -- two adults -- hospitals they can senator senator and west Jefferson did send to send a message saying. That they really wanted Children's Hospital because they have a lot of confidence in what they're doing. And not just with children's but now with Toro. And they just sort of like their system. But I did not know until recently. I knew that it's all about this changing world of health care that the whole country is living through and that wanting to survive. That east Jefferson was losing so much money I mean it is -- yes. Was last year almost fifteen million dollars to west Jefferson is not. And makes a prop for. Several million dollars profit. I almost wanted to ask. What are they doing that the other -- not. Do you know. I think it probably has something to do with patient -- to a certain degree I think -- West Jefferson maybe. -- set up to you have the patient mix that they had. I think east Jefferson I was relying upon. A lot of Medicaid a lot of Medicare which is obviously. Put a dent in the air their bottom line. That would be mine mine my thinking. I'm just wondering what is gonna change and next. Will. I think that. Part of the problem is that east Jefferson is had to go into reserves to do things like capital improvement to keep up. It's it's competitive edge -- enter a point right now where they can no longer do that. Bringing in day in private operator who has access to capital who has ability to go out and and borrowed. Edit it a lesser interest rate rather than go on in the bond market is as the public hospitals do. Is probably a much better. Scenario in terms of keeping up with -- your competition. -- other issue that you have were relative to service district hospitals as service district house -- having a lot of legal restrictions that are built into law. They just can't compete with that would deprive that -- facilities. And I think that is probably another big factor as to why they reached out to go to -- private operator. Okay please stay with us everyone we're talking about again one of the biggest decisions Jefferson council may never make. Who will run the two parish hospitals will be right back financial under the WL. The Jefferson Parish council voted yesterday to delay a decision. On which company is gonna run the parish is to hospitals until independent auditor can look at the proposals and our guest today. Are two people who agreed with that delay Tony Lee -- from the chain up I'm sorry from the business council and -- -- Murphy from the junction chamber. We've got a caller let's go to him first brand uptown. Do you think -- can play very good discussion Tom. I was wondering whether it might be at NC state and the state attorney cheat and use. Are there areas -- law. Review and approval -- acquisition. -- -- -- Section Portland it seemed like eleven at eight -- and it basically. Not for profit hospital. Where they're required. -- need to be reviewed and approved by the security channel. And it what acquisition means and that includes -- Ownership. -- rapper and -- wondering why not have the attorney general review this matter. Do you work for the attorney general insurance and. Don't know I -- I I looked it up in regards Alex you've got a little. And they told that basically because they were -- home. Supply. Blood either non profit hospitals. And I'm wondering why it's so. Seen all the money for another Kaufman hall look -- why not -- the attorney general do. Well I I guess our response and I'm not familiar with the statute I guess that who would does that statute applies to service district hospitals because there're. Whole set of statutes and our laws that apply to service district hospitals and to a certain degree I don't know that I would have. A whole lot of faith in the attorney general -- is not negative towards the attorney general's office but to make any kind of evaluation. Of the transfer of of -- police of a local hospital I'm not sure that I would feel 100% comfortable with that. I wonder if there is. They're gonna bring in another auditor. And he brings up the good point -- paid a lot of money week meaning that your district it. Sure paid a lot of money for a consulting firm that really didn't do anything. That kind of waffled in the end and first was not gonna come out with anything and I think a little under pressure finally said go your separate ways. I think everybody was a little surprised that -- what is it first well it's going to be a different kind of consulting firm that's gonna come out to evaluate. These proposals. Well I think what's contemplated right now is it is an accounting firm and I know it's just specifically. Set forth in the ordinance that was adopted later on in the meeting but it is and accounting firm that will have no ties to Jefferson Parish. Which has expertise in hospital account. -- wonder what to up our columnist sank after that's done maybe the attorney general should look at. I Armenians almost a time without knowing the state without knowing the particulars of the statute. I think at that point in time it becomes a local issue and and nets can affect people Jefferson Parish I just don't. Note that the attorney general was released set up for that I don't know when that statute was passed. Whether it applies with the true intent of that is. Wouldn't even to that point go to something certainly that maybe our inspector general would look at right -- let me I don't know both of -- One. Do you think that it is from a business standpoint. Wiser. For the two hospitals. To be together. Run by one company. I think if everybody if the boards were on the same page yes -- of the advantages of economies of scale being able to negotiate with the insurance companies for. Better rates so yeah I think it would be great if they could just arrive at a -- consensus agreement is who's gonna run of the both facilities. I think city I mean obviously you have you have economies of scale and and strength in numbers when you do that and that was really the whole point of the third district to begin with. At the same time and I think what what this. Cap accounting firm with healthcare experience. Would be brought in to do would be able to look at those issues is it better to separate. Is there is their large gains and really dig in to. Into the proposals and evaluate the proposals not just ought to proposal. Let me ask you when they put out there. The proposal. Four you know want to network can never remember that work in our faith yet Arctic when they put that out does that set the criteria. This is what we want. And then they respond. Or now are we gonna come up with. Well typically that is the way in -- works is this is what we want and then they respond but keep in mind this was done. This was done by the third district hospital boards and -- we don't claim to. Two things number one to be health care experts number two we've never been privy to the proposals so that was all confidential and all done by those hospital Boortz. Should that have been the case. Well the idea was -- was to prevent I'm kind of what we've seen over the last month. -- I mean to a certain degree hindsight is always to 120. I think bottom line is. That we have to remember too that at this stage the this is of these proposals are non binding because now you're whoever that final Souter is going to be. Is -- gonna have to do their due diligence. And is gonna have to be a lot of negotiation to get to the point where it's -- finalized. Contract. Finalize leaks so there's still a long way to go from this point. But to say that. The process was was not done well I guess is using the benefit of opt out hindsight and correct yeah probably could've been done better but. We are where we are right now. And I think the one thing that everybody agrees on is something has got to be done. Relative to getting these these. Facilities under private. Operation. Let me ask you just my own information with the knowledge now that -- Jefferson is sort of bleeding. Is that the taxpayer who has to make up for that. If if -- public hospital is losing money. I think if it got to a point where all the reserves were exhausted then you'd have to look at the possibility of some type of Milledge. As additional support for the hospitals right now there is no. Bob Milledge to my knowledge that is used to support either east Jefferson west Jefferson hospital's -- And we're gonna take another break we're going to be back and I'd like to ask these two gentlemen we're all gonna get a call from a parish president John Young. But. We have a lot to these two gentlemen to just stay with us and give us a call if you have any thoughts on. Who should run the Jefferson Parish hospitals but now let's go to Chris Miller in the news for we are talking about who should run the hospitals and Jefferson Parish major decision needing to be made. Of vote yesterday by the council to deferred until there is any on an independent audit. Again let's talk about the independent were down two from seventeen proposals to the three which HCA children's and Washington. And question was interested in children's an Easter this interest in saint CA so now what they're going to do is they're going to find an independent monitors you sent an accounting firm. And they will take those three that have already. Gotten this far and sort of dissect them with a criterion. Of who will -- secretary. Open where that criteria would obviously be set by the council because there there the other body that's got engaged. This accounting firm. We would hope that there would be a a very. Detailed engagement letter with this firm that says. Hey we want you to come in and evaluate the proposals. We want you to look at certain criteria like job retention and growth. Community partner track records longevity in investment of a systems and various locations I'm sure there's. Health care barometers that that that we need to look in that sustainability. The option of separating the two hospitals and come back with some sort of independent scorecard on those categories. After evaluating those proposals. So that the council can then make a sound decision based on facts and data and not based on. In stinks and personalities and and and what have you so. That's really what we're hoping that they'll be some teeth for for a real hard heading valuation. That comes up with this independent evaluation and independent scorecard. And this way and I agree with taught a 100% this way the public will have some. Yardstick by which to measure the ultimate decision of the council which is obviously important. We were talking in the break but it it's not an original thought there are those in the community who feel the public should have more input. Just sort of your thoughts on that. Well that when the issue came up about the referendum one of the things that we look at is. The the huge importance of this decision. And in order to arrive at a decision as we've just been talking about you have to look at a lot of data out a lot of mind of minutia. So to speak. And basically. My opinion my personal opinion would be. That it beat the -- for a referendum would have boiled down to basically a publicity battle who can spend the most. The paint to the rosiest picture in the eyes of the public. And I just don't believe the public would have the ability to get into the minutia of this decision. As -- -- council -- they have a heavy elected to make these types of decisions. I agree I you know I think I think this is. I think it's a real opportunity for the council I don't I don't believe that this has to be a long delay I think there is a lot of data that's already been collected by cost at all. I think it's something that a firm could be brought in could act relatively quickly on. But you know -- -- it this is that the largest decision's been made in Jefferson Parish in certainly in my lifetime and probably in the rest of my lifetime. And I think it's something that many people out -- percent GM -- you're about the hospitals -- wish it would go away. But if it's not done right. You're gonna be hearing about this a year from now five years from now continuation -- I think. This process. Really will enhance the decision making sure we make the right decision. And ultimately given those those councilman a legacy and instead of a black guy went when your real last two years from now -- look at that we look at this and so. That's really the whole intent of this and of course that the council also has. Ability to say. We need professional advice on any on any point that they would like to get that professional advice on the general public obviously. It's not in that type of position so. The issues should be narrowed down in the counts was the best place to to do that. Another one of the issues not issues that one of the differences. Was that of course -- -- -- non profit in and she is profit. And so the profit company HCA would have to pay property taxes and in many people's minds that was applause. But the other flip side was that at the end of that thirty year contract they would they would get things correct. Well there's been some changes made that to the original submission. By HC I haven't read them all but I understand that a lot of that has been taken out of their proposal. Okay we're gonna take another break but stay with -- and again don't hesitate to call us if you have any thoughts on. What he calls. Which is right the biggest decision in Jefferson Parish. We'll be right back up the on big decision and Jefferson Parish about who's gonna take over the two hospitals we have a caller John in New Orleans. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Why my understanding am to. Was obviously the Kaufman hall report was a report that's been -- them out there for a while. We didn't really publicly here that there was a problem with the Kaufman hall report probably. Until sometime in our -- so. I'm not sure if if that's which -- calling and Honda I think that was more of an an analysis. The issue of the audit really came up probably in early November when the inspector general. Dave four Jefferson Parish statement Clint are opine that that should be one of the elements of the council's consideration. When there was this this deadlock came about and that was probably early in November and then councilman Roberts. This seemed to feel that that should be Don and then we got into the Christmas season and the vote got called them. That's when everybody kind of said well we need to take a deep breath on this thing and and hopefully get an -- done before he'll vote. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- It was more I would would you call an -- would ecologist and analysis. As a consultant. Two to leave the council one million the other which didn't happen -- Be honest with you I have not seen the entire Kaufman hall -- -- report I read the summary of it. I would not call it an audit. -- and I only saw. -- -- should. Be at all partners we sought to. -- it is extremely technical and complex appreciate it very much. You know something along the lines yesterday it was reported councilman Chris Roberts. Called on the hospitals to private relation of the financial stands with the council. I was surprised the council wouldn't know that they're both public hospitals. I'm not certain -- And I didn't. I missed that part yeah that's that's a good question. I think from a from a publicly owned company I think they would have to there that are information would be out there and not too sure about the non profit. Okay let me I'm talking about of art to hospitals of -- -- Jefferson Wesley Jefferson yet now. Why wouldn't the council know that. Automatically. Two good questions -- our culture that someone else -- it -- we have done Jefferson Parish president John Young on the line I appreciate you calling. You know the answer to that. I didn't question -- so well that's -- that there Chris Roberts called for the hospitals to privately show the financial status with the council. My interpreted that as -- question. -- -- -- -- -- So why wouldn't the council already have those figures from as as a normal thing a business. Army out to. It's provided information upon request and certainly the -- ago or. I mean the council does is dated operations. What I think Charles Roberts was sources give -- it was a report from report. As to what the update it's -- -- and certainly any cal state in Tibet information and eight. Through this board members well that you won formal report. As to what the status it is. Because everyone -- last months has been concentrating on on at least shoot shoot and -- that he wanted to it is that with a financial situation laws were respectable hospital at about. Your thoughts on the vote yesterday. She. Beat. One it's hard to argue against getting. An audit done and checked and financial numbers split. -- we have you know to hospitals. -- hanging in the balance. A lot of called reverse -- trauma employs about two dollars and -- for doctors. With the uncertainty. A lot of people feel dragged on too long. Nativist there's various factors involved sort of finances or important factor financial. Pictures in sport in terms of who's offering one. You know but at the end of the -- Finances shouldn't be the sole determining factor yeah look at -- The overall picture and and determine. Which. Suitors going to be the best order for these two hospitals -- adamantly opposed to a split these two hospitals that goes against the very nature -- Process the beginning of this process was -- first combine it. Eastern and western support and the other -- in market goes to hospital unit. Just servicers and the Egyptian fresh battle -- maintain the quality -- to put to enhance and as we go -- So. You have. You have to look at which suitors is going to be the best bowler for the next thirty years in improvised quality health care to citizens just branch. An agreement popular. Party at the bottom line that's what it is the one element financial issue. Well John you know this is this is -- -- I don't think we're looking just -- the financial issue and what we were asking for as a an independent scorecard he would come back and look at. You know a number of various issues. You know finances as certain certainly part of it health care barometers is is probably in a part of it to set sustainability. Track records in other areas. You know maybe there's some legal issues that you look at the. Legal issues and tactic into. -- focused on which -- maybe. -- -- the fact that one of the senators that it was the two million dollar judgment. Justice question very -- for taking on the BO. Witness about someone being considered here. So that could be so that's right so that's my case in point click through all these meetings I've been in in public forums I've never heard that and so. That's the point this independent review that is not meant to be a long term delay. And like I'm. On you you misinterpret my statement I'm -- -- -- it's on all of you against right it's just unfortunate Solomon -- against that. It's just unfortunate that. You know. We're at the point we all because one of the reasons. It was it was important for the council to. Go to legislature allow others to be dealt with not a referendum this because everyone wanted to avoid. -- actually what is. -- you know basically full. It campaign and in in in putting you beat hospitals. Indian employs hospitals and and an anxious situation. And I hate you are running at a time and hate in Iraq that we are running time I really appreciate this call we kept it one more break we'll be right. In about them the issue of the important issue of the who's gonna take care of -- too. Hospitals in Jefferson I personally I think -- Murphy who's president of the Jefferson chamber. And Tony -- who's with the Jefferson business council many here not just from politicians but. But from regular people about what impact this is gonna have a lot of thank president John Young also for having joined -- yet totally. Final thought my final thought is. Is that this is saying any chance to really dig in and do the due diligence that's right from the four and 30000 residents in Jefferson -- -- 181000 businesses that are out there. We certainly wanna get it over and we we understand anxiety of those 5000 or so employees at those two hospitals. But this decision is huge -- -- major impacts from many many years to come thank you both for your time. And great smarts Chris Miller's next in the news.