Health Care

Lafayette General, American Legion explore partnership

by Leslie Turk

Area hospitals hope to finalize long-term agreement for Lafayette General to assume operations and management of Crowley facilities

American Legion Hospital and Lafayette General Health announced Nov. 5 that they have signed a letter of intent to explore a long-term agreement for LGH to assume management and operations of ALH.

LGH plans to enter into a multi-year lease of the hospital, its physical plant and equipment.

Both parties are bringing in consultants to help develop the structure and specifics of a lease/management agreement, which they say will be advantageous to Acadia Parish residents. The goal is to finalize documents in the first quarter of 2014 and execute the arrangement as early as April 2014. More details of the partnership will be provided as the parties near completion of a formal contract, the hospitals noted in announcing the proposed deal.

LGH says it will be able to provide expanded resources, technology, purchasing power and clinical protocol alignment, enabling ALH to better deliver cost-effective and efficient care that will lead to "enhanced patient outcomes, financial stability and long-term viability," according to the press release.

"The American Legion Acadia Post 15 established a terrific foundation for us to build upon," LGH President/CEO David L. Callecod said in the release. "It is our intention to successfully look for a way to fully integrate ALH into our health system while making ALH an even stronger community hospital in Acadia Parish. We believe this is possible and will work hard to formalize a long-term relationship over the next few months."

In May Lafayette General announced that it had expanded its oncology services to Acadia Parish with the opening of Cancer Center of Acadiana at American Legion Hospital. Those services are also offered in Lafayette, Mamou and Abbeville.

The shuttered Crowley Sanitarium was reopened in 1928 by the American Legion Acadia Post 15 as Legion Memorial Hospital. In 1950, Acadia Post 15 formed a nonprofit to operate the hospital, resulting in a new charter for American Legion Hospital.

In 1987, ALH moved to its current location on U.S. East Hwy. 90. Today the hospital staffs 178 beds and employs more than 450 people serving a parish population of approximately 62,000. Officials pointed out that if ALH were located in Lafayette, it would be just eight-staffed beds shy of the second-largest hospital in the city.

American Legion Hospital provides for acute medical and surgical care (obstetrics and gynecology, pediatric, orthopedic, otolaryngology, cardiac, psychiatry, nephrology, ophthalmology, oncology, emergency services, vein therapy, wound care and hyperbaric medicine).

In addition to the main campus, the hospital operates a psychiatric hospital in Rayne and two offsite outpatient departments: a Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine in Tower One (behind the main hospital) and a Cardiac Outpatient Services clinic on Northern Avenue in Crowley.

"Our letter of intent includes everything they own and lease, in addition to all of their contracts and employees," says Daryl Cetnar, LGH's director of community relations.

LGH's flagship hospital is Lafayette General Medical Center. LGH owns or manages Lafayette General Surgical Hospital, St. Martin Hospital, University Hospital & Clinics and Abrom-Kaplan Memorial Hospital, and has several affiliations with facilities across the region.

Both LGMC and University Hospital & Clinics are major teaching hospitals.

In 2012, LGH said it saw 198,205 patients, while the health system offered a charitable allowance of $73 million. LGH property and assets total $394 million, employing nearly 3,000 staff.