CHRISTUS Health and Ochsner Health System plan to form a joint venture involving the organizations' health care facilities and services in Lake Charles. CHRISTUS has two hospitals, two medical groups and a network of clinics in the southwest Louisiana community. Ochsner has no facilities in Lake Charles, but has been offering its specialty and subspecialty services to the community primarily via telemedicine through a CHRISTUS-Ochsner partnership begun in 2015.
Both CHRISTUS and Ochsner are not-for-profit health care systems. Six of CHRISTUS' 60 hospitals are in Louisiana. All of Ochsner's 29 hospitals are in that state. Under the two health systems' pre-existing collaboration, CHRISTUS facilities in Louisiana's Lake Charles, Shreveport-Bossier, Alexandria and in communities surrounding these cities, have had access via telemedicine to Ochsner neurological care, neonatal care and Ochsner cancer trials. Ochsner also has been providing medical education to physicians in those communities.
CHRISTUS and Ochsner signed a letter of intent to form the joint venture. According to information from CHRISTUS President and Chief Executive Ernie Sadau, plans call for CHRISTUS to be the majority owner of the not-for-profit joint venture. That venture will have a board of directors. Both CHRISTUS and Ochsner will have representation on the board, with CHRISTUS holding the majority of seats.
The organizations are not disclosing terms and financials of the joint venture.
CHRISTUS has two hospitals in Lake Charles: CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital and CHRISTUS Lake Area Hospital; CHRISTUS acquired the latter facility from Community Health Systems July 1. Under the proposed joint venture, CHRISTUS will continue to manage both hospitals.
CHRISTUS has two groups of employed physicians in Lake Charles: CHRISTUS Physician Group and Lake Area Medical Group. Under the joint venture, plans call for Ochsner to manage CHRISTUS' clinics and employed physicians in those physician groups. Ochsner also will employ those physicians.
CHRISTUS and Ochsner expect to finalize the joint venture by year's end. According to information from Sadau, CHRISTUS' Lake Charles-area leadership team and staff will remain in place. It is likely that there will be a change to the hospitals' and clinics' names, but those names have not yet been determined.
CHRISTUS and Ochsner leaders said they expect the joint venture will help ensure that the growing Lake Charles community will continue to have access to high-quality health care close to home. Plans call for expanded use of key Ochsner services, such as neurology and perinatal telemedicine.
According to information from Ochsner President and Chief Executive Warner Thomas, the CHRISTUS partnership is part of a broader strategy in which Ochsner is collaborating with health care systems and facilities around the state to "enhance local care and provide coordinated access to Ochsner's higher level of care when needed."
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