New Orleans, La. - The contenders vying to run East Jefferson and West Jefferson hospitals thought a decision would come Thursday.
But the Jefferson Parish Council meeting has been canceled, so the waiting goes on for the Louisiana Children's Medical Center, the Ochsner Health System, and Nashville-based HCA.
"This is a decision that is a 30 to 40 year decision, it is not coming back, so to be made in a snap way, to be made without full vetting, and a full amount of information, I think would not be a good thing to do" said Warner Thomas, president and chief operating officer of the Ochsner Health System.
Some Council members were not ready to vote on the lease partnership, and on Tuesday Parish Inspector General David McGlintock confirmed that he would communicate with Parish leaders about the proposal on Wednesday.
"I do plan to send correspondence to the council tomorrow," McClintock told FOX 8 News. "Any report that we issue must go through a mandatory comment period prior to the finalization of the memo or document."
"We're going to adhere to the process," said Greg Feirn, president and chief operating officer of Louisiana Children's Medical Center. "If it's another 30 days we'll be here, we'll take questions, we'll provide clarification when needed. We think we're a strong partner. We're financially strong, and we think we offer the patient care and the patient quality that's needed."
Mel Lagarde, President of HCA's New Orleans-based Mid America Division, released the following statement:
"We welcome any input from the Inspector General to help ensure this process is impartial, and leads to the best outcome for the people of Jefferson Parish. And we understand that his involvement is part of a thorough oversight process that ensures transparency and fairness. We're looking forward to reviewing his report."
The meeting cancellation came just hours after two council members endorsed LCMC to run both East and West Jeff.
"We appreciate that. We think that goes to our non-profit mission," said Feirn.
Thomas said even though the hospital board members have requested a lot of financial information, he does not believe enough attention has been paid to another critical area: quality.
"I've read the information that the Parish Council, the board feel that the quality is relatively equal, that everyone could do a good job," Thomas said. "However, I don't know how much due diligence has been done in the quality arena."