HMC names new Ochsner leadership team
By Dwayne Bremer
Sep 10, 2013, 18:14
From left, Hancock Medical Board of Trustee Member J. Larry Ladner, new HMC CEO Patty Davenport, Hancock County Board of Supervisors President Lisa Cowand, and HMC Marketing Director Tom Carlton welcomed Ochsner Health Services to Hancock County on Tuesday.
Officials at Hancock Medical Center on Tuesday introduced the hospital's new leadership team under its contract with Ochsner Health Services.
Last week, the Hancock County Board of Supervisors approved a 90-day management contract with Ochsner.
Polly Davenport, who is also the chief executive officer at Ochsner's Northshore Hospital in Slidell, will serve in the same capacity at HMC.
Davenport said Ochsner's main priority in the next three months will be analyzing the needs of the hospital and making recommendations to the board of supervisors.
"We take this as a great opportunity to come in and assist," she said. "Healthcare is challenging right now, but healthcare needs to be local. We are going to offer our guidance to the supervisors."
She said she had been impressed with the hospital and its staff in her first week on the job.
"There are a lot of positive things going on," she said. "It's a warm and friendly environment here. The basics are here. We have an experienced and tenured nursing staff and some great physicians."
Beyond the 90-day contract, both Davenport and board of Supervisors President Lisa Cowand were non-committal about what the future will hold.
"We are going to be doing our due diligence and talking to the supervisors about that," Davenport said. Cowand said there has been no discussion so far about selling the hospital to Ochsner.
Ochsner owns or operates nine hospitals, 40 health clinics, and employ thousands of doctors and healthcare professionals.
Davenport said the primary focus of the HMC management team will be assisting in recruiting new doctors and helping solve financial issues currently facing the hospital.
In August, hospital officials decreed a financial crisis at HMC.
Former HMC Director Craig Cudworth told supervisors last month that the hospital generated $33.8 million in gross revenue last year. HMC performed 2,248 outpatient surgeries and admitted 285 surgical patients last year, he said.
Despite the numbers, HMC was having difficulty in several areas including uncompensated care; decreases in state and federal Medicaid/Medicare funding; a depressed economy; the looming potential effects of the Affordable Care Act; and unfinished construction costs.
HMC still owes more than $3.15 million on its expansion project and has yet to receive about $1.5 million of the funding from FEMA, officials said.
HMC officials suggested the county approve a request to apply for a $6.1 million bond issue to help cover the shortfalls.
Hospital officials also suggested the county levy a new-five mil tax to help pay off the bond.
Supervisors took no action on either request, but replaced the management team a few weeks later.
HMC Board of Trustee Member J Larry Ladner said Tuesday that he believes Ochsner will help make HMC successful.
"Today is the culmination of our rebuilding that started eight years ago," Ladner said. "We have to have a hospital in Hancock County. Failure is not an option."