Lafayette, Louisiana-based Lafayette General Health will merge into Ochsner Health to create a 35-hospital system, officials announced Thursday.
As part of the agreement, Ochsner will invest $465 million in capital and resources over the next 10 years, including an immediate nearly $100 million expansion at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center. It will be the largest healthcare provider in the area, officials said.
“Our vision is to truly improve the health of Louisianans and people across the Gulf South,” said David Wilson, chair of the Ochsner Lafayette General board of trustees, in a statement. “Ochsner is an organization with a national reputation, but Louisiana roots. They understand our state’s unique healthcare needs and are committed to advancing care in our region. As one system, we have an opportunity to truly make a positive impact in the lives and health of the people in our state.”
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LGH will take on the name Ochsner Lafayette General. Today’s announcement is the conclusion of a process that began with the Lafayette General Health board of trustees signing a letter of intent to merge with Ochsner in September 2019, building on their existing, successful clinical affiliation.
The deal received approval from the Louisiana attorney general in early September.
As part of the merger,
- Ochsner will make an immediate $94 million investment in building a six-floor inpatient tower, including expanded women’s services, a new parking garage and outpatient infusion chairs at the Cancer Center of Acadiana. They will also construct a Center of Excellence building to expand cancer services and neurosciences.
- They will invest $1 million in the Healthcare Innovation Fund at the Ochsner Lafayette General Foundation to further digital medicine and technology initiatives in Acadiana.
- They will begin immediate facility upgrades and greater financial stability for Ochsner University Hospital & Clinics (UHC), enabling the hospital to continue serving the most vulnerable members of the community. Additionally, a $10 million, 10-year Community Support Fund will be overseen by the Ochsner Lafayette General Board of Trustees.
- Ochsner will invest in graduate medical education at Ochsner LGMC, adding 48 new residency positions at Ochsner LGMC, building on the 75 currently at UHC.
- Ochsner will invest about $21 million over 10 years to increase minimum wage from $10 to $12 per hour, effective immediately. This impacts nearly 900 employees. Starting Jan. 1, employees at LGH will also be eligible for an annual 2% retirement contribution on top of their current 401(k) match, part of a $4 million annual investment, officials said.
Ochsner Lafayette General will maintain an open medical staff, allowing physicians to choose how they affiliate with the organization and patients can continue with their current providers, officials said.
“As Ochsner Lafayette General, we’ll be able to provide greater access and care coordination across the state,” said Amanda Logue, M.D., chief medical officer at Ochsner Lafayette General, in a statement. “We will enhance key services such as women’s health and pediatrics, cancer services, neurosciences, expanded primary care and other specialties that our community truly needs. That means patients won’t have to leave the region to receive the care they need.”