Ochsner Health System, CHRISTUS Health Announce Plans For Partnership

NEW ORLEANS – Ochsner Health System (Ochsner) and CHRISTUS Health announced Wednesday, June 28, they have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to pursue a joint venture of current CHRISTUS operations in the Lake Charles area. The joint venture will have responsibility for all future health care facilities and services operated by the two health systems in the region. The anticipated agreement will build on the collective strengths of both CHRISTUS Health and Ochsner, improve care for patients and expand local access to health care services and specialties such as maternal fetal medicine, pediatric subspecialties, neurosciences and oncology, Ochsner reps said.

         “We are two of the leading health systems in our state and nationally,” said Warner Thomas, president and CEO, Ochsner Health System. “Our opportunity, and in fact responsibility, is to work even more closely together and do more to expand, innovate and improve health care in our region.”

         “This is an exciting time for our health system and the people of Southwest Louisiana,” explained Ernie Sadau, president and CEO, CHRISTUS Health. “With today’s announcement we are sharing our intentions of bringing together two vital, not-for-profit organizations. We’re also reinforcing our deep commitment to continue to provide high quality care and improve the health of the communities we serve.”

         CHRISTUS and Ochsner will become more integrated partners in the Lake Charles region, building upon a successful, two-year relationship including telemedicine and clinical trials, and will share responsibility for the current and potential services available to patients there, reps said. At closing, Ochsner will assume management of the clinics and employed physicians in the CHRISTUS Physician Group and Lake Area Medical Group. A new joint board of directors will be formed to govern strategic decisions for the integrated system in the Lake Charles area, and seats will be held by both CHRISTUS Health and Ochsner.

         When the transaction is complete, CHRISTUS Health will be the majority owner of the not-for-profit entity and will continue to manage all other portions of the joint venture, including CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital and soon to be acquired Lake Area Medical Center.  In the interim, Lake Area Medical Center is expected to be called CHRISTUS Lake Area Hospital.

         “We have a great deal of respect for the physicians in the Lake Charles area and look forward to working more collaboratively together to serve patients,” said Dr. Ed Martin, Ochsner’s West Region’s chief medical officer. “In every partnership there’s an opportunity for physicians from both organizations to learn from one another and to share best practices and resources.

         Following due diligence, Wednesday’s announcement is expected to be finalized by fall 2017 including the new structure, an anticipated name change and co-branding. When the agreement is finalized, the new entity will look for opportunities to expand health care services in the area, bring more specialties not available to the area and focus on the health of the residents of the Lake Charles region.

         “Over the next few months, we’ll work toward the signing of a definitive agreement,” said Sadau. “By becoming more integrated in Lake Charles, we are building on a long history of a commitment to Louisiana, to our people and to the communities we serve. This is an exciting opportunity to ensure exceptional access to health care remains close to home for the Lake Charles community.”

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