The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has given the go-ahead for Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Health System to go forward with their joint venture, meaning Ochsner will now have partners on both sides of St. Tammany Parish.
The partnership, first announced in April, had been on hold pending the attorney general’s review.
According to state law, the attorney general must review mergers or acquisitions involving any of the state’s public not-for-profit hospitals. SMH and Ochsner officials have said their partnership is not a merger or an acquisition, but they submitted an application to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office out of “an abundance of caution.”
Ochsner operates another hospital just 2 miles from SMH.
Caldwell’s office registered no objection to the plan, which the two entities dubbed a “strategic partnership,” according to a news release Tuesday from Ochsner.
The partnership means “physicians and patients will benefit from an environment in which both organizations are able to collaborate with physicians to share best practices, expand services and implement advanced, patient-centered technology,” according to an Oschner news release.
Slidell Memorial will remain an independent entity with its own assets and board.
A Strategic Oversight Committee will govern joint activities. It will have equal representation from SMH and Ochsner.
Decisions on issues such as selection of leadership and investments will be made jointly, the release said.
The agreement will give Ochsner access to SMH’s cancer and heart centers as well as its emergency department. SMH, which has 229 beds, will become part of the Ochsner Health Network.
Ochsner has a similar partnership with St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington. That partnership was finalized last year.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.