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General Health System and Ochsner Health System Announce Plans to Form a Strategic Partnership

Partners to transform Baton Rouge healthcare landscape through a fully, integrated system offering the highest quality, most cost effective care

BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, General Health System (GHS) and Ochsner Health System (Ochsner) announced the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) to form an integrated, strategic partnership that brings together two of the State’s most respected healthcare providers. The partnership will create Baton Rouge’s highest quality, most cost effective, financially integrated healthcare delivery system which will offer patients an improved experience, more service and program options and better access to care at a wider range of destinations. The partnership will encompass all hospitals and clinics in the Greater Baton Rouge area including Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City and Bluebonnet campuses, which includes the region’s only verified burn treatment center and the only local hospital to receive an “A” for patient safety by Leapfrog four years in a row; and Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge, recently named as one of Truven’s Top 100 Hospitals in the nation.

“This partnership is the next step in transforming healthcare in Baton Rouge,” said Mark Slyter, GHS/Baton Rouge General President and CEO. “Combining our unparalleled track record with Ochsner’s nationally recognized reputation creates the most comprehensive system in the greater Baton Rouge region, offering more patients an even wider range of conveniences and options for leading-edge care, close to home.”

The strategic partnership creates a joint operations structure without merger or acquisition by either organization, providing an opportunity to deliver the highest quality and most cost effective care through a combined integrated system that includes joint governance, management and financial integration. When final, the partnership between Ochsner and GHS will provide clinical benefits and cost synergies for both of the health systems, physicians, community partners, and, most importantly, patients. Once formed, the partnership will encompass a full spectrum of patient care and wellness services: comprehensive inpatient and outpatient hospital care; primary care and specialty medicine physician practices; a freestanding emergency department; urgent care clinics; home health; skilled nursing and post-acute services; behavioral wellness; inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation; and outpatient imaging; comprehensive burn care; and infusion and radiation therapy services. Together, the partnership will also provide comprehensive cardiovascular and cancer services including surgery, infusion and radiation therapy services. Working as an integrated team in the greater Baton Rouge area, the partnership will offer patients an even wider range of options when it comes to where they want to receive their care.

“The challenges we currently face as healthcare providers are unprecedented.” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health System. “To lead the change in these uncertain times, Ochsner has been proactive and has formed strategic partnerships across the state. We have demonstrated our ability to add value in every partnership to improve quality and lower the cost of care. Today, two organizations are coming together to deliver the highest quality healthcare at the lowest cost in the greater Baton Rouge area and to make our communities stronger and healthier.”

Both potential partners recognize the importance of local governance and decision-making near the point of patient care. Although the organizations will now work through the final details of the partnership, the partners have agreed that GHS/Baton Rouge General President and CEO will serve as CEO of the partnership.

A combined, local leadership team will be built by Baton Rouge General's CEO in partnership with Thomas, drawing from both GHS and Ochsner teams. This management team will work collaboratively with physicians and Ochsner Health System leadership to develop a joint strategy for the integrated operations which will be approved by the joint operations board.

Both Ochsner Clinic Physicians and Baton Rouge General Physicians will be included in the integrated system and leadership. This partnership will not affect the employment of either group. Ochsner Clinic Physicians will remain part of Ochsner as they are today, and Baton Rouge General Physicians will remain a part of GHS. Both organizations will maintain open medical staffs.

“GHS and Ochsner both have a long history of working with like-minded healthcare providers to share best practices and medical knowledge,” said Joe Juban, Chair, Baton Rouge General Board of Trustees. “This integrated partnership builds on those existing relationships to further improve the health of our community.”

“No two partnerships are alike. We are committed to working closely with General Health System to build a customized partnership that benefits patients, physicians and our staffs,” said Suzanne Mestayer, Chair, Ochsner Health System Board of Directors. “Together, we will be strategically, operationally and financially integrated and as partners, we look forward to making joint investments in our communities.”

The integrated partnership provides an opportunity for both organizations to realize future growth opportunities through appropriate expansion of services, improved coordination of resources, significant cost savings, sharing of best practices, and a continued focus on quality and implementation of advanced technologies. In the coming months, GHS and Ochsner will explore opportunities to improve patient access, expand programs and services and work together to deliver healthcare in a more efficient, patient-centered way.

While the LOI signifies the intent of both parties to work together, a binding definitive agreement will take several months to finalize.

About General Health System

General Health System is the parent company of a network of affiliated healthcare providers anchored by Baton Rouge General Medical Center’s two state-of-the-art facilities. It also includes Baton Rouge General Physicians, Baton Rouge Rehabilitation Hospital, BRG Gastroenterology Center, BRG Imaging Center, and several other healthcare products and programs that serve the residents of the capital city’s nine-parish region. Baton Rouge General is the area’s first and only full-service community hospital with 590 licensed beds between two campuses. Since opening its doors in 1900, it has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations, with major services including a Regional Burn Center, Women’s and Children Services, Cancer and Heart and Vascular centers. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General serves as a satellite campus of Tulane University School of Medicine. For more information, visit BRGeneral.org, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BatonRougeGeneral and follow us on Twitter at @BRGeneral.

About Ochsner Health System

Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 28 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 60 health centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across six specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 80 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs 17,000 employees and over 1,000 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, and conducts more than 1,000 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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