In a cooperative agreement announced in the spring, LCMC Health System will pay Jefferson Parish up to $245 million to lease West Jefferson Medical Center and operate its hospitals and clinics for 45 years. According to a press release, a portion is dependent on the hospital’s financial performance in the first three years. Capital improvements, community benefit payments and a partnership agreement to assess and monitor the Westbank community health needs are also included in the collaboration. Current staff will remain and parish residents will have access to the soon-to-open University Medical Center, a new regional children’s hospital.


UPDATE: UMC New Orleans won’t specialize in pediatric healthcare; the company is the flagship academic medical center of LCMC Health, which operates Children’s Hospital. We regret the error. 

The New Orleans smoking ban took effect in April, making it illegal to smoke in bars, restaurants and casinos. The city council unanimously passed the ban in January, citing health concerns for hospitality industry staff, performers and the general population. According to Time Magazine, New Orleans was one of the last in the United States to allow smoking in bars and restaurants. Along with Harrah’s Casino, bars and restaurants in the French Quarter filed suit with the Civil District Court a few days prior to the ban going into effect. With NOPD removed as an enforcement agency, enforcement of the ban falls to city agencies, such as the department of health, as well as the staff and patrons of bars, who are encouraged to call 311 to file complaints. According to The Times-Picayune, bar and restaurant managers and owners are required to order patrons to stop, but other employees are not. Permits and licenses are at risk for businesses that continue to allow smoking. Vaping is also including in the ban, and fines start at $50 for individuals.