The LSU Board of Supervisors on Monday gave a subcommittee the authority to sign off on a deal, in which Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center takes over LSU’s Baton Rouge outpatients’ medical clinics.
The proposed agreement contained no financial terms in it as the document went before the board. The document was handed to reporters as the meeting started.
How much the Our Lady of the Lake, known locally as the Lake, would pay to lease the clinic buildings located in north, south and mid-city areas of the city as well as the equipment in them is one financial term missing. In addition, how much the Lake is guaranteed to be paid by the state to cover clinic operations is also missing.
The clinics are currently operated by LSU as extensions of Earl K. Long Regional Medical Center which is scheduled to close April 15.
“You have before you the cooperative endeavor agreement in its draft form. It is missing some final numbers ... which we expect to have in the next 48 hours or so,” said Frank Opelka, LSU System executive vice president.
“I’m presenting this thing to you in principle,” Opelka said. “I would feel much more comfortable if we had the numbers, the completed document.”
The LSU board voted to appoint a special subcommittee to act on its behalf once the financial numbers are known. It also gave LSU System President William Jenkins the authority to sign the revision of a cooperative endeavor agreement signed in 2010.
The 2010 agreement calls for the Lake to become home for in-patient care and medical education programs currently housed at LSU Earl K. Long Medical Center, on Airline Highway.
The hospital had been scheduled to close in November, but the Jindal administration moved the date up to April 15.
The original plan was for LSU to continue operating the outpatient clinics but the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected the plan LSU submitted.
So, LSU recently moved to its fallback position for the Lake to assume clinic operations, which meant expedited negotiations.
State Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, said she has talked to CMS staff who have told her that LSU has not received “the necessary approval for certain elements of the cooperative endeavor.”
“The requisite approval is tied to future financing for the out-patient clinics attached to Earl K. Long,” Barrow said. She said the potential exists for loss of “significant federal funding for noncompliance with CMS requirements” related to the Lake taking over LSU’s out-patient clinics.
Barrow asked the board to answer questions involving the CMS issue. The board assigned Opelka the job.
The procedures prompted a protest from health care advocate Brad Ott, who said the board was violating the public meetings law. Ott, of New Orleans, complained that the board did not post a copy of the proposed out-patient clinic deal prior to the meeting so the public could see its terms.
Ott said that the board was in “a rush to satiate” the appetites of Gov. Bobby Jindal and Bruce Greenstein, secretary of the state Department Health and Hospitals, to sell off state operations to private interests.