During the time that we have been the time that we have been working on this, our annual Best Doctors Issue, a news story happened that’s a harbinger of health care and doctoring in the future. The Jefferson Parish council unanimously approved action that will allow the council (bypassing the need for a public vote) to negotiate with companies to run West Jefferson and East Jefferson hospitals, both owned by the parish.
We see the future here. Throughout the state, which was a pioneer of publicly financed health care, all public hospitals now seem destined for private management. This may prove to be a good thing in the long run. Private enterprise has the challenge of competitiveness countered with the need for cost efficiencies. If done right, the two hospitals, which have enjoyed good reputations for most of their existence, may further improve. This will also affect the quality of doctors. Management companies that are willing to invest in technology and equipment will be better able to attract top echelon doctors. Behind every Best Doctor there’s a business story that made that doctor possible.
For now there seems to be three main contenders to manage the hospitals: Ochsner Health System, Louisiana Children’s Medical Center (which is partnered with Touro) and the Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).
Whichever comes out ahead will have much to do with an important chunk of the area’s health care. We wish the Jefferson Parish Council the best with its analysis. This diagnosis is critical.