Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help you learn more about our planned merger and vision for healthcare in Acadiana. You can also submit a question of your own in the box to the right. We will update this page regularly to answer new questions we receive.

OVERVIEW

What are LGH and Ochsner pursuing?

The Board of Trustees for LGH has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to merge with Ochsner Health System, building on our clinical affiliation. Our combined organization will be the largest and most comprehensive healthcare provider in the Gulf South, allowing us to improve access to high quality healthcare across the region, and LGH will anchor services as the regional hub in southwest Louisiana.

Combining our resources will mean better healthcare available here locally and a significant impact on our local economy. A merger with Ochsner only strengthens LGH so that we can continue to ensure access to local, quality care for generations to come.

Why is this happening? Why now?

Over the past 10 years, LGH has grown and evolved to meet Acadiana’s unique healthcare needs. We are proud to be Acadiana’s trusted healthcare provider and are working from a position of strength to ensure local access to high-quality care for generations to come. However, our reality is that the healthcare industry is fundamentally changing and creating challenges for healthcare providers – especially health systems of our size.

For example, Louisiana is one of the least healthy states in the nation. As a standalone organization, we can only invest so much to truly tackle the pressing healthcare needs of the people we serve. Additionally, industry headwinds require significant expertise, resources and scale to succeed as a health system and to meet the evolving needs of our communities. On top of this, just last year we were faced with University Hospital & Clinics (UHC) nearly having to close, which would have jeopardized 800 jobs and healthcare services for the most vulnerable people of our region. It was a wakeup call.

Now is the time to make bold, proactive decisions to fulfill our mission and allow us to thrive well into the future.

Who made this decision? How was this decision made?

After more than two years of engaging industry experts and exploring a variety of potential paths to evolve and ensure we have a strong future, it became clear to our Board of Trustees that merging with Ochsner is the right next step for LGH.

ABOUT THE PROPOSED MERGER

Why is Ochsner the right partner for LGH?

Ochsner’s national reputation, Louisiana roots and mission make them a natural partner for LGH. Like us, Ochsner understands our state’s unique health needs and is committed to advancing healthcare in Acadiana. This is a natural next step in our longtime partnership in the Ochsner Health Network through which we have made important strides in lowering healthcare costs and expanding specialty care in oncology and pediatric cardiology.

Ochsner’s innovative approaches also strengthen the work we are doing to help our community get well and stay well. For example, Ochsner provides patients with access to digital medicine programs that help them digitally manage their health from the convenience of their homes with fewer doctors’ visits.

What is a Letter of Intent (LOI)?

The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a non-binding agreement between Ochsner and LGH that outlines each organization’s intentions for the merger. It essentially serves as a roadmap for the process. Signing the LOI signifies our genuine interest in merging with Ochsner Health System. In the months ahead, LGH and Ochsner will enter into a period of due diligence (or research) into the finer details of our planned merger, the next step in the process.

Is Ochsner buying LGH?

No, this is not a buyout. LGH is merging with Ochsner Health System to enhance access to care and improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.

How does this merger help Ochsner?

Together, we will be the largest and most comprehensive healthcare provider in the Gulf South. Our combined organization will improve access to high quality healthcare across the region and will be able to truly improve the health of Louisianans. We live in the least healthy state in the U.S. – it’s a big challenge, but we know it’s possible if we work together.

Who is really going to be in charge locally?

The current LGH leadership team and Board of Trustees will continue to guide LGH and provide operational oversight. Additionally, LGH will have three representatives join the Ochsner Health System Board of Directors and three OHS representatives will serve on the LGH Board.

Does the merger include all facilities/entities under the LGH umbrella?

Yes. The merger includes all LGH facilities.

FOR THE COMMUNITY

What does this mean for our patients and community?

A merger with Ochsner only strengthens LGH as a provider of quality healthcare and economic engine for our region. LGH will continue to serve as a cornerstone of this community, and patients will continue to have access to all the same services and physicians they know today. Our aim is to enhance and expand services over time for the southwest Louisiana population, so that people of Acadiana do not have to leave the area for certain services we don’t offer today.

Additionally, we expect this move to create new job growth as we work to expand services. Ochsner has a track record for increasing jobs in other communities where they have partnered.

We will also continue our mission-centered calling to care for our friends and neighbors in need regardless of their insurance coverage or ability to pay. Our charity care policy will remain the same, and our commitment to UHC is even stronger through this merger. In fact, a 10-year, $10 million Community Support Fund, to be overseen by the LGH Board of Trustees, will be created to advance health and wellness in Acadiana.

Lastly, a key focus of our merger will be to find ways to lower the cost of care for the community. To do this, we will work closely with insurers, the state and local employers to create new programs and implement technologies that make care more efficient and convenient.

How will current healthcare services be impacted?

Patients will continue to have access to all the same services and physicians they know today. Our aim is to enhance and expand services over time for the southwest Louisiana population, so that people of Acadiana do not have to leave the area for certain services we don’t offer today. For example, we will be able to expand key services including pediatrics, women’s health, cancer services and more, as well as introduce pioneering behavioral health services the community desperately needs.

Will LGH’s hospitals and locations change names?

Lafayette General will keep its name and co-brand with Ochsner after completion of the merger.

Will this decision impact LGH’s other current partnerships?

Agreements with the hospitals affiliated with LGH will remain in place, and there are no plans to change any of LGH’s current partnerships. Any partnerships currently under development will continued to be pursued as LGH will anchor services as the regional healthcare hub for southwest Louisiana.

Will LGH continue to accept the same insurance plans it accepts today?

Yes. All currently accepted insurance plans will continue be accepted as they are today.

Is Ochsner a not-for-profit health system?

Yes. Ochsner is much like LGH in many ways. Ochsner’s national reputation, Louisiana roots and not-for-profit mission make them a natural partner for LGH. Ochsner understands our state’s unique health needs and is committed to advancing healthcare in Acadiana.

FOR EMPLOYEES AND PHYSICIANS

What does this mean for employees? Will employees be impacted?

We have much to be proud of at LGH. We have some of the most caring, dedicated and skilled employees and physicians in the country. Our patient and employee satisfaction scores are second to none, and it is this legacy of hard work and a strong culture that has positioned us for this exciting step forward.

  • LGH will continue to be a positive and fulfilling place to work and serve for our employees.
  • All current LGH employees will continue with the combined organization. Employees will maintain current retirement and benefit packages and receive credit for years of service.
  • Once the merger is complete, the minimum wage will also increase by nearly $2 to $12 per hour across the system. This will positively impact 800 LGH employees. We take seriously our responsibility to be a great place to work and to improve the overall financial wellbeing of our employees, our most important asset.
  • We will be investing in training and development for caregivers through a $1.75 million classroom expansion at LG Ortho, as well as other workforce training and continuing education opportunities available through Ochsner.

What does this mean for physicians? Will physicians be impacted?

LGH is fortunate to have 1,200+ dedicated physicians on our medical staff. With this merger, LGH will continue to maintain an open medical staff, allowing physicians to choose how they affiliate with the health system and maintaining existing employment agreements and contracts with physicians.

Together with Ochsner’s clinical leaders, our physicians will be able to develop and share best practices, enhance and strengthen medical programs and key services that are closer to home, and help us attract and retain the best and brightest physicians to our region.

Coming together as one system will offer improved care coordination and more programs and services here in Acadiana, so patients don’t have to leave our region for care. In fact, we aim to expand key services including pediatrics, women’s health, cancer services and more, as well as introduce pioneering behavioral health services the community desperately needs.

We will be strengthening training and education with an investment of a $1.75 million classroom expansion at LG Ortho, a major investment in graduate medical education at LGMC to help train the physicians of the future, and add approximately 48 new residency positions at LGMC.

A Clinical Integration Council – with equal representation from both OHS and LGH – will be also be formed to fully integrate healthcare delivery across the region.

Will currently independent LGH physicians be able to stay independent? What will happen to current physician practices?

LGH will continue to have an open medical staff, allowing physicians to choose how they affiliate with the health system and maintaining existing employment agreements and contracts with physicians.

Will employees have to reapply for their jobs?

No.

Will there be a hiring freeze between now and next spring?

No. We will continue to operate as we do today. This includes hiring and training the people we need to continue to deliver exceptional care to our community.

What happens to me if I make just over the minimum wage now? Will I get a pay increase?

We take seriously our responsibility to be a great place to work and to improve the overall financial wellbeing of our employees. Once the merger is complete, our minimum wage will increase to $12 per hour. This will positively impact 800 LGH employees.

We continue to benchmark our pay and benefits against the market to ensure fair, equitable and competitive pay for all and will make adjustments when necessary.

Will LGH have to change from Cerner to EPIC? If so, when?

Interoperability of our patient care systems is the ultimate goal. Our systems must be able to talk to each other so that we can provide high quality, coordinated patient care. We will evaluate together how we will accomplish that goal. If that means LGH will need to convert to the EPIC system, that will not happen for at least three years.

How much will a conversion to a new electronic health record cost? Who will pay for it? Is that part of the $365 million?

If we determine that converting our IT systems is the right path, Ochsner has agreed to fund the conversion to EPIC. That cost would be in addition to the commitment of $365 million in capital and resources over the next 10 years to expand and enhance services, advance patient-centered innovation, invest in our people and medical education, and increase access to care for all patients.

PROCESS AND NEXT STEPS

How can I learn more?

Both organizations are committed to ongoing communication with employees, physicians and our community over the coming weeks and months to make sure everyone has a chance to have their questions answered and to understand what an extraordinary event this is for our community and the LGH family. Please continue to check this website along the way for updates. As always, our number one priority remains providing the high-quality care our friends and neighbors deserve and have come to expect.

What is the approval process? What happens next?

Signing the LOI is the first step in the process that will take several months to complete. We now enter into a period of due diligence (or research) into the finer details of our planned merger. We hope to finalize our merger in the spring of 2020.

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