- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The LSU leader who oversees the university’s hospital privatization deals told a judge Thursday that a lack of trust prompted LSU to try to oust the manager of its Shreveport and Monroe hospitals.

Dr. Frank Opelka, an LSU System vice president, testified on the final day of a two-day hearing about the university’s breach of contract lawsuit against the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, known as BRF.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1RzCx1L ) that Opelka said BRF displayed a hostile attitude toward LSU, refused to work collaboratively with the university and disrupted academics at the LSU medical school in Shreveport.

“LSU has an issue of breach of trust” with the foundation, Opelka said.

Steve Skrivanos, chairman of the BRF board, testified earlier in the day that LSU demonstrated it was determined to force the hospital manager’s ouster despite the foundation’s best efforts to resolve the dispute.

“There was almost nothing I wasn’t willing to do to advance this partnership,” Skrivanos said. “I tried on many occasions to advance the discussions. The only thing they were interested in doing was discussing our withdrawal.”

LSU sued the research foundation in September, seeking to have it removed as hospital manager. BRF is trying to have LSU’s lawsuit dismissed. Judge Todd Hernandez heard arguments about the request to dismiss the university lawsuit. Hernandez didn’t indicate Thursday when he would issue a ruling.

The research foundation took over the two north Louisiana hospitals in October 2013 through a no-bid contract, part of a push by Gov. Bobby Jindal to privatize most of the LSU charity hospitals that care for the uninsured and help train the state’s medical students.

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


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