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Local Partnerships Key To LSU Hospital Privatization

As privatization moves forward, the LSU hospital system is focused on partnering with health care providers already operating in the communities where LSU facilities are.

The charity hospitals have been forced to seek private-public partnerships to stay afloat in the wake of cuts to federal support for Medicaid in Louisiana.

At LSU's annual healthcare forum Tuesday, Frank Opelka, the system’s vice president for health affairs and medical education, told the audience of his opening address:

“I can assure you, it’s around the clock negations of very complex arrangements trying to make sure first, we take care of the uninsured; second, we deal with the most vulnerable, high risk Medicaid; third, our obligation and dedication to prison care; and fourth, our graduate medical education."

Opelka said the LSU hospital system has preliminary agreements for private hospital operators to take over the management of facilities in Lake Charles, Lafayette, Houma and New Orleans. And Baton Rouge hospital operations are shifting to a private facility this year.

Opelka said he hasn’t yet been able to find a “community partner” to run Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center in Independence. That facility will remain under university control for the foreseeable future.