BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards has given the private operators of the LSU hospitals and clinics until next week to decide if they agree to the renegotiated terms of their financing deals with the state.

The “public/private partners” that took over the safety net services LSU previously provided to the poor and uninsured have until Thursday to accept the terms offered by the administration, Edwards’ chief negotiator on the contracts, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, told the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Dardenne wouldn’t provide details about what changes are proposed. But he has said negotiations are over and the terms offered are final.

“I’m optimistic and hopeful that by next Thursday all the present partners are going to sign,” Dardenne said Friday.

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal privatized nine LSU-run hospitals and their clinics through no-bid contracts, with the earliest deal starting in April 2013. In most instances, the management company of a nearby hospital took over operations. Three hospitals — one each in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Pineville — closed under their contracts and their services were shifted to private hospitals.

The Edwards administration says the Jindal deals were too hastily slapped together, too costly, and with terms that aren’t favorable to the state. The providers who took over the LSU safety net services have asked for more money from the state each year since the contracts began.

“Our objective was to create some standard provisions in all of them, which we were able to do,” Dardenne said.

Haggling over the renegotiated terms has been done behind closed doors, but Dardenne said he plans to unveil the new arrangements after next week’s deadline. Dardenne said “a number of partners” already have agreed to the proposals but none have yet signed the official documents.

For those hospital and clinic managers that agree to the Edwards administration’s proposals, the reworked terms will be included in a memorandum of understanding — a document that lays out the terms in principle — while final updated contracts will be drawn up in the coming months.

While the operator of its Shreveport and Monroe hospitals has been offered a renegotiated deal, the LSU board also agreed to efforts by its Shreveport medical school to spread some of its doctors-in-training and clinical services to six additional community hospitals.

The LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday approved documents indicating ongoing negotiations with the six hospitals about the “possible collaborative agreements.” The hospitals include DeSoto Regional Health System, North Caddo Medical System, Springhill Medical Services, Rapides Regional Medical Center, Willis-Knighton Medical System and Christus Health.

G.E. Ghali, interim chancellor of the Shreveport medical school, said working with those hospitals to place medical students and residents would help strengthen medical training, increase revenue for the school and boost research opportunities.

The push to add new partnership deals comes as LSU’s relationship with the state-hired operator of the university’s two north Louisiana hospitals, the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, continues to deteriorate.


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