Slidell Memorial Hospital forms partnership with Ochsner _lowres

Photo provided by Slidell Memorial HospitalÑDavid G. Mannella is chairman of the Slidell Memorial Hospital Board of Commissioners.

Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Health System announced Monday that they are forming a strategic partnership, similar to a relationship that Ochsner forged last year with St. Tammany Parish Hospital, the parish’s other public hospital.

The partnership is not a purchase or an acquisition by either party, according to a joint news release, and each organization will retain its name and assets, according to Warner Thomas, Ochsner’s chief executive officer.

Unlike in the western part of the parish, Ochsner already has a hospital in the Slidell area. In 2010, it purchased a full-service medical center in Slidell from Tenet Healthcare, which pulled out of the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. That hospital, Ochsner Medical Center Northshore, is 1.9 miles from Slidell Memorial.

Ochsner has 11 clinics in St. Tammany, five on the western side of the parish and six on the east.

Slidell Memorial Hospital will become part of the newly formed Ochsner Health Network, Thomas said. But it will remain an independent community hospital with the same board governing it.

A strategic oversight committee will coordinate joint activity; it will include equal representation from Slidell Memorial and Ochsner Health System, Thomas said.

“We take our responsibility to the citizens we serve very seriously,” said David Mannella, chairman of Slidell Memorial’s board of commissioners. “Although we have succeeded in continuing to provide high-quality services locally by being innovative, it is our responsibility to be forward-thinking. The simple reality for us is that going it alone is not an option.”

He called the partnership the best opportunity for Slidell Memorial to strengthen and expand.

Sam Caruso, director of business development for Slidell Memorial, said the relationship is very similar to the one Ochsner has with St. Tammany Parish Hospital. He stressed that “no one is in control over us.” But the fact that the hospitals are partners now “is a good thing for everyone,” he said.

Ochsner gains the advantage of access to Slidell Memorial’s cancer center, its brand-new heart center and what Caruso described as a “state-of-the-art emergency department, things they don’t have at Northshore.”

Slidell Memorial, which has 229 beds, is a nonprofit hospital that was founded in 1959. It is the second-oldest hospital in the parish.

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