BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — LSU has rejected financial proposals from the manager of its Shreveport and Monroe hospitals that would govern the sharing of computer services, utilities and security.
University system health care adviser Jerry Phillips said the documents submitted by the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, known as BRF, were insufficient.
"They didn't meet the terms that we thought we had agreed on," Phillips said.
Though management of the north Louisiana hospitals shifted nearly a year ago, LSU and the research foundation have been unable to reach terms on various financial details of the contract.
A behind-the-scenes clash over the contractual arrangements spilled into public view last month when LSU sent the research foundation a collection letter demanding payment for $25 million in outstanding debts.
BRF runs the hospitals as the University Health System. Rodney Huebbers, CEO of the health system, told the LSU governing board last week that his company had paid the invoices and submitted nearly all the outstanding financial agreements that needed to be worked out.
Huebbers tried to assure the board that he expected the two sides to have a long and cooperative partnership, despite the ongoing financial dispute.
Phillips said this week that while the hospital manager has satisfied the letter's immediate payment demands, the documents still are a sticking point. And there's money tied to those contractual arrangements, including $14 million that LSU says it's owed from the last budget year for providing services tied up in the disagreement.
"We're trying to finish the terms and receive payment for that $14 million from last year," Phillips said. "It's going back and forth."
Huebbers said in a statement that he was unable to comment because University Health hasn't received notice from LSU "of any final decisions on pending agreements."
"We continue to have conversations with all parties to the (cooperative endeavor agreement) and we feel confident this will be resolved," Stephen Skrivanos, chairman of the BRF board, said in a statement.
The biomedical research foundation took control of the two LSU-owned hospitals in October 2013, as part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's push to privatize most of the university-run public hospital system.
The foundation had never previously run a patient facility, unlike the companies that took over LSU's public hospitals and clinics across south Louisiana.
The dispute involving the north Louisiana hospitals comes as the Jindal administration is asking federal officials to approve Medicaid financing plans for that privatization deal and several others in south Louisiana. The hospital deals rely on federal financing to support them.
In the collection letter sent in August, LSU accused BRF of using the university system like its "personal piggy bank." In response, BRF leaders said LSU had made the privatization management transition more difficult than necessary.
Meanwhile, the research foundation also sent accusations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services alleging "potential violations" of federal regulations in LSU's management of the outpatient clinics.
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