Moss Regional Board offers mixed views on partnership

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

Although Lake Charles Memorial Hospital

entered into a partnership with W.O. Moss Regional Medical Center last

week, the hospital

administrator said plans are under way but that they’ve only

gotten “the tip of the iceberg” so far.

Officials with LSU Heath Systems and the Department of Health and Hospitals, along with chief executives of Memorial and West

Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, announced last week that they would enter into a public-private partnership that would sustain

Moss Regional, preventing layoffs and budget cuts and maintaining services at the charity hospital.

Jimmy Pottorff, Moss Regional interim

administrator, said in a meeting with the hospital’s community advisory

committee Wednesday

that the move was “good news.”

“It will preserve services here at Moss, and services will stay intact, both inpatient and outpatient,” he said. “There may

be the possibility of an expansion in services in the future. It will be a change in the way that we deliver health care.”

With the partnership Memorial will lease the Moss Regional property from the LSU System, which will continue to serve patients

in its current location, and West Cal-Cam Hospital will sublease components of the hospital from Memorial.

Pottorff said details of the partnership are unknown, but state and hospital officials are diligently working to bring a full

plan to fruition. “It’s still in the negotiation stage, and there’s a lot to work out with this,” he said.

Pottorff said about $10.8 million was eliminated from Moss Regional’s budget in its last fiscal year.

Board members who met at the Wednesday meeting said the move is a good one, but some raised concerns.

Elaine Broussard said the partnership is a good thing, but is concerned that the hospital will be “pushed aside.”

“This hospital has always been caring

for the indigent and the working poor who can’t afford insurance, and

it’s been here

forever,” she said. “I think people will care to know that when a

big hospital takes over, that Moss Regional won’t get scrubbed

off to the side or lose its part in the community. People

appreciate this place so much.”

Board member Sheila Champagne said that if people saw what Moss Regional did they would know it was “a little diamond in the

rough.”

Pottorff added that the partnership will be beneficial for people to actually see what the hospital is doing. “Other places

will be able to see what we do with what we have, and they will be in shock,” he said.

Pottorff said he hopes that after the

partnership is complete and the transition is made that the hospital

will have the opportunity

to expand its services in the future.

The transition into the partnership is expected to be complete by July.