April 28, 2015 04:56 PM

No money was exchanged and no management changes are planned in the strategic partnership jointly announced by Lafayette General Health and New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System on April 27.

Rather, Lafayette General Health is now part of the Ochsner Health Network, a move the nonprofit hospital groups say will enable the two organizations to build upon their strengths and better collaborate as partners to improve the health of their communities. Under the agreement, each organization will retain its identity and operational oversight, meaning the partnership will not impact the governance, employees or medical staff relationships of either hospital group.

Lafayette General Health's David Callecod
Photo by Robin May
In a prepared statement, David L. Callecod, president of LGH, calls the long-term partnership “a proactive step to improve quality and decrease costs, while offering access to higher acuity healthcare closer to home.”

The LGH group encompasses Lafayette General Medical Center, Lafayette General Surgical Hospital, St. Martin Hospital, University Hospital & Clinics (the former UMC), Acadia General Hospital and Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital. The state's largest non-profit health system, Ochsner has 13 hospitals and more than 50 health centers.

The partnership provides benefits for physicians and patients, who will have the convenience of being treated close to home at all LGH facilities while gaining better access to the depth and breadth of care for which Ochsner is nationally recognized. The partnership will create greater opportunity for alignment through a clinically integrated physician network, joint investments in the resources needed to start new programs and the expansion of patient services and resources in the region, according to the statement.

“We are proud to have Lafayette General Health as one of OHN’s founding partners — an evolving multi-state network that will be made up of the highest quality organizations in each market,” Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, says in the statement. “Together we will share best practices and resources to expand our ability to deliver additional services to both patients and physicians across western Louisiana, the state and the region.”

Ochsner announced plans for a similar partnership with Slidell Memorial Hospital earlier this month.

The LGH-Ochsner partnership’s initial focus is on expanding pediatric subspecialty care and comprehensive stroke care. Additionally, the hospital groups say they will expand current technology to build a comprehensive telemedicine program so that services like TeleStroke and TeleNICU are available across LGH facilities; they will also launch additional patient-focused initiatives aimed at improving the treatment of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes.

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