Metairie’s East Jefferson General Hospital has opened the doors to a primary care clinic in St. Charles Parish that is similar to ones the publicly owned medical center runs in Kenner and Lakeview. 

In a statement, hospital leaders said the new clinic at 159 Longview Drive in Destrehan is part of East Jefferson’s efforts to expand an “ever-growing footprint,” even as Jefferson Parish officials anticipate eventually leasing the hospital to a private operator in hopes of ending years of financial struggles.

“This is … special … for all of us,” said Dr. Mark Peters, president and CEO of East Jefferson, which opened in 1971. “We have dedicated the last 45 years to great care in our community, and for us to be able to expand that mission to St. Charles Parish is extraordinary.”

Managing EJ Primary Care Destrehan will be a staff under the direction of Dr. Robert Sayes, a specialist in family practice.

The clinic is about 15 miles from East Jefferson’s 420-bed main campus at 4200 Houma Blvd. It can be contacted at (504) 503-5000.

Like other hospitals in the New Orleans area, East Jefferson has been expanding its presence in neighboring communities, establishing other primary care clinics at 7030 Canal Blvd. in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood and at 4216 Florida Ave. in Kenner.

The hospital has experienced financial hardships in recent years, similar to those at its parish-owned counterpart in Marrero, West Jefferson Medical Center.

Parish officials last year agreed to lease West Jefferson to LCMC Health for at least 45 years in return for more than $500 million in rental fees, capital improvements and other payments. But negotiations to lease East Jefferson to Hospital Corp. of America under a similar arrangement collapsed last year.

Officials have said they intend to find a lease partner for East Jefferson at some point, but for now the hospital remains under parish control.