In your opinion piece dated June 22, you noted “We do not know if New Orleans can be competitive for the business of cutting-edge medicine that has been so successful in Houston and in Birmingham, Alabama.” In fact, in our view, that kind of success is already happening in New Orleans, represented largely by several key facts.

First and most importantly, it’s represented by patient choice. In 2014, more than 400,000 people, hailing from every parish in our state, every state in our nation and more than 90 countries around the world, chose Ochsner and came to New Orleans for their care.

These patients are cared for by physicians from renowned training programs and organizations like Duke, Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic who chose to move here and join our group practice.

They continue to choose Ochsner in part because we are one of only 36 hospitals in the country and the only one in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi ranked by U.S. News & World Report in nine or more specialties. You would have to travel as far west as Houston, as far east as Atlanta, and as far south as Orlando to find another health care provider nationally recognized in as many areas.

Last week’s announcement of the Ochsner Health Network was a defining moment for our state and represents another choice that confirms the New Orleans region as a national destination for cutting-edge health care. Each of the founding partners of the Ochsner Health Network chose to partner with Ochsner because they believe that together, we will successfully shape the future of health care in our region.

Together, we represent 25 facilities and care for more than a million patients statewide. Together, we will provide greater access to care, improve quality and safety, and reduce the cost of care so that we can provide more value for patients, employers and payors. When a patient enters our network, they have confidence in knowing that the highest quality care is available to them close to home and that highly specialized services are here at Ochsner when they need us.

Finally, for New Orleans citizens, it was a choice to return and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, and it was our choice as an organization to play the leadership role in the revitalization of health care in the city. Ten years later, we are proud to live in a city surrounded by people who have demonstrated incredible resilience.

Health care is a critical piece of our quality of life here, and we should take pride in the fact that patients and physicians from across the country and around the world choose to come to our city and to Ochsner — a national destination for health care, right here in our own backyard.

Warner Thomas

president and CEO, Ochsner Health System

New Orleans