- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - The operator of two public hospitals in north Louisiana says LSU’s claims that it breached its contract are based on subjective complaints rather than anything measurable, and therefore are not valid.

Biomedical Research Foundation Chairman Steve Skrivanos made the statement in a letter sent Friday to Louisiana State University President F. King Alexander, The Times (https://bit.ly/1KrXFVh) reported.

LSU answered a request for comment, “We are in a period of negotiation with BRF, and we are working in good faith toward a cure. We will have no further public discussion while we are in this negotiation period.”

Skrivanos said a contract monitor was set up to ensure that the hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe are being run correctly - and reports and data from the monitor would be needed to back up claims of a breach of contract.

“Absent measurable and substantiated data from the contract monitor, a claim of public purpose breach cannot be made,” he wrote.

LSU’s main claims include failure to work collaboratively with LSU; failure to support and promote LSU Health Science Center-Shreveport’s academic mission and reputation; and failure to establish a sustainable and competitive business model. It sent its letter to the foundation July 14.

Skrivanos wrote that the foundation is willing to address each of LSU’s complaints by Wednesday, but would prefer LSU withdraw its breach notice and allow third-party mediation to resolve any disputes.

Skrivanos’ letter said University Health hospital in Shreveport, University Health Conway hospital in Monroe and LSU’s medical school, which is connected to the hospitals, have thrived rather than floundered under the foundation’s control.

“LSU officials have often claimed that safety net healthcare has never been better across the state under the partnerships; (the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals) has said that state taxpayers have saved over $40 (million) in our operations while safety net services have been expedited and enhanced; and the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport recently graduated its largest class in history, which is a wonderful accomplishment for (graduate medical education),” the letter reads. “We are delighted to have worked with LSU and the state to bring about these accomplishments.”

Biomedical Research Foundation secured the contract to operate the hospitals in 2013 as part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to privatize the state’s charity hospital system.

LSU and BRF have had a rocky relationship from the start.

Skrivanos blames much of the friction on interference from Willis-Knighton Health System in Shreveport, which he believes has undermined the foundation by siphoning commercial insurance patients from University Health and recruiting LSU doctors to conduct their clinics at Willis-Knighton.

Biomedical Research Foundation and Vantage Health Plan, a Monroe-headquartered insurance company, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Willis-Knighton last week.


Information from: The Times, https://www.shreveporttimes.com

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