- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AMITE, La. (AP) - The Tangipahoa Parish Council has voted to request budget information from North Oaks Health Systems in Hammond and Hood Memorial Hospital in Amite.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1peQzfm ) the council also decided to establish a committee to explore the operations of the two hospitals.

The actions came after attorney Glen Galbraith told the council it has the authority to review the budgets of the hospitals and to exercise vetoes of any budgetary items with which the council did not agree. The council has not sought or obtained copies of the budgets for the two hospitals for many years.

Galbraith was retained by the council at its June 9 meeting to study what authority the council has over the two hospitals.

In 1955, the old Tangipahoa Parish Police Jury established Hospital Service District No. 1 in the southern end of the parish. North Oaks, which grew from that beginning, has not accepted any local tax money for more than two decades.

Hood Memorial was founded by Hospital Service District No. 2, which serves the northern end of the parish.

Galbraith said the council has the authority to review the budgets of all special service districts, such as Gravity Drainage District No. 1, sewer and lighting districts.

The attorney said the Parish Council also has the authority to create a board of commissioners to oversee the hospital districts and to appoint the chief operating officer of the hospital. The Parish Council names members of the commissioners who oversee hospital operations.

North Oaks has come under fire after announcing it plans to establish a limited retail pharmacy to serve its employees and patients who were being discharged. A number of independent pharmacy owners have protested those plans.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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