- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

GRETNA, La. (AP) - Jefferson Parish officials have a nearly $600 million deal to lease the parish-owned West Jefferson Medical Center to a private operator.

LCMC Health will begin running the 435-bed Marrero hospital Thursday under a 45-year lease signed Tuesday, the nonprofit hospital system said in a news release.

The state Attorney General’s Office has been reviewing the deal for months and state approval came in a letter sent Tuesday to Deputy Parish Attorney Ed Rapier, The New Orleans Advocate reported (https://bit.ly/1YOkpq4 ).

LCMC will pay at least $200 million rent, spend $340 million on capital improvements and make $31 million to $51 million in other payments depending on financial performance and other factors.

The organization owns two New Orleans hospitals, Children’s Hospital and Touro, and runs two more - University Medical Center and New Orleans East Hospital.

LCMC will have two 15-year renewal options for West Jefferson Medical Center.

Leaders of civic groups spoke overwhelmingly in support of the lease deal at a hearing that an Attorney General’s Office representative hosted at the hospital Monday.

They noted that the hospital has been hurting financially for years.

LCMC CEO Gregory Feirn was similarly buoyant at the thought of adding West Jefferson to his firm’s portfolio.

“You can see how important these facilities are for their communities,” Feirn said Monday.

The parish also wants to find an operator for East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie.

However, efforts to lease that facility to Hospital Corporation of America, which runs Tulane University Hospital, collapsed earlier this year. Officials said East Jefferson will remain under parish control for the foreseeable future.

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Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, https://www.neworleansadvocate.com


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