Hancock County Board Of Supervisors Selects Ochsner Health System As Long Term Partner For Hancock Medical Center

Hancock Medical Center, 149 Drinkwater Rd., Bay St Louis, Mississippi

NEW ORLEANS – The Hancock County Board of Supervisors has selected Ochsner Health System to operate Hancock Medical Center (HMC) under a long-term, capital lease agreement, expanding upon the strategic partnership the two organizations created in 2013. 

         Under Ochsner’s management, Hancock Medical Center, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, experienced positive operational cash flow for the first time in nearly a dozen years, significant and sustained improvements in quality metrics and higher patient experience scores in both the hospital and clinics.

         The new lease agreement, which includes a purchase option, is further evidence of Ochsner’s commitment to Hancock County and the Medical Center, Ochsner reps said. With this expanded partnership, Ochsner has committed to invest $33.75 million in lease payments and capital investments into the county and facility and to make efforts to recruit physicians and expand clinical services. This agreement will provide patients the continued convenience of being treated close to home while gaining better access to the depth and breadth of care for which Ochsner is nationally recognized, Ochsner reps said.

         “After a lengthy RFP and evaluation process, which included supervisors meeting with many potential partners, our board feels confident that Ochsner Health System will continue to lead Hancock Medical Center in the right direction and position the hospital for success in the new value-based healthcare environment,” said Blaine LaFontaine, president, Hancock County Board of Supervisors. “Ochsner has been a proven partner since 2013. This agreement best assures that the hospital will continue to provide quality services and care for residents needing healthcare, and it provides the best level of assurance to doctors and employees of the facility to continue to work and provide services to our community. Ochsner has illustrated its commitment to our coastal communities by improving our financial, quality and patient experience metrics across the board. We look forward to expanding local access to care and offering Hancock County residents the most advanced technology in partnership with one of the leading healthcare organizations in our region.”

         “Since 2013, we have been committed to improving the delivery of healthcare at Hancock Medical Center and making the communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast healthier,” said Warner Thomas, president and CEO, Ochsner Health System. “With our expanded partnership, Ochsner looks forward to working with the Hancock County Board of Supervisors and the dedicated care team at Hancock Medical Center to ensure coastal residents have high-quality healthcare services close to home with the most advanced technology and digital health offerings available.”

         One of Ochsner’s first actions will be to install and implement Epic, an industry-leading electronic healthcare information software system that will improve care coordination, the hospital’s revenue cycle, patient registration and scheduling and clinical integration. Epic will effectively coordinate care for patients in the communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast for generations to come, and will allow Hancock patients to have better access to their own health information through Epic’s patient portal, MyChart. Ochsner will also expand digital health offerings to patients at Hancock Medical Center, empowering patients to take control of their own health.

         “We look forward to continuing to bring our vision of improving the health of families in the Coastal communities we serve to life,” said Alan Hodges, CEO, Hancock Medical Center. “Moving forward under this expanded partnership with Ochsner Health System will enable us to bring more value to patients, including enhanced access to care, all while remaining financially strong.”

         As part of this agreement, Ochsner will lease Hancock Medical Center from Hancock County and assume all operations. The facility will be renamed Ochsner Hancock Medical Center. A seven member advisory board will be created to assist with management of Ochsner Hancock Medical Center, and that advisory board will include at least three community members appointed by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors with the President of the Board of Supervisors serving as an ex officio member.  

         The agreement is a 25-year lease valued at an average of $850,000 in annual lease payments with a required $500,000 annual capital investment into the facility. The lease provides Ochsner with the option to purchase at the end of the lease term.

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