The consultant on privatizing Jefferson Parish’s hospitals recommends splitting the medical centers between two companies, an opinion that contains significant caveats and was offered only because of “irreconcilable” differences between the East Bank and West Bank boards.
The recommendation from Kaufman Hall, forwarded to parish officials late Wednesday, takes pains to point out that dividing East Jefferson General Hospital and West Jefferson Medical Center is “less than optimal” for the parish.
Without a consensus from the boards and staff of the hospitals, an outcome seen as a near impossibility, each hospital should go its own way to ensure those involved are committed to a successful outcome, according a response to questions posed by the Parish Council earlier this month.
In their response, the consultants deny having previously issued a “recommendation” on whether the parish should select HCA, Louisiana Children’s Medical Center or Ochsner Health System to run the hospitals. The response also shies away from selecting any of the three companies, even in the context of a potential split between the two hospitals.
The 22-page document from Kaufman Hall provides an item-by-item response to more than a dozen questions contained in a resolution passed by the Parish Council earlier this month.
That resolution, and the larger issue of whether the consultant should be asked to select one of the companies, has been a major flashpoint among council members who have sought to use it to bolster or tear down the case for Children’s.
Kaufman Hall’s latest opinion on the hospital selection process bolsters a case made for dividing the hospitals but, given its cautions and lack of preference for a specific company, seems unlikely to shake council or board members from their entrenched positions.