Hancock County

Will Hancock Medical stick with company that put them in the black?

The Hancock Board of Supervisors voted in September 2013 to enter into a 90-day management agreement with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans to manage Hancock Medical Center.
The Hancock Board of Supervisors voted in September 2013 to enter into a 90-day management agreement with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans to manage Hancock Medical Center. TTIsbell@sunherald.com/File

Hancock Medical Center is near the end of its management agreement with Ochsner Health System and most people at a meeting Thursday seemed inclined to stick with the larger New Orleans hospital system.

Larry Ladner, president of the Hancock Medical Board of Trustees, told the county supervisors that the trustees of the county-owned hospital voted unanimously to enter into a new management agreement with Oschner or lease the hospital to “a larger entity.”

“The days of a stand-alone hospital are over,” he said.

Ochsner, most all the people present agreed, had turned the hospital around from the precarious financial position the hospital was in when it took over in 2013.

Ladner said any new agreement should include the manager or leasing company sharing some of the financial risk of the hospital operation.

Alan Hodges, Hancock Medical chief executive officer, said it will finish the year in the black.

Surgeon Brian Anthony said that while he remained pro-Ochsner, he wanted the supervisors to keep an open mind as they decide the best course for the hospital.

“I’d like us to be pro-Hancock County,” Board of Supervisors President Blaine LaFontaine said.

The supervisors and trustees will meet as soon as possible to try to decide on which of the two recommendations from the trustees to follow, said Ladner.

“Time is of the essence,” he told the supervisors.

The current agreement ends in February.

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

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