Riverside continues to seek solutions to clinic situation

Published 11:40 am Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Editor:

Riverside Medical Center’s Board of Commissioners and Administration have worked diligently over the past months to negotiate a reasonable resolution with St. Tammany Parish Hospital. However, since that time STPH has not been willing to agree to such a resolution with Riverside. Although it appeared in recent months that there had been enough common ground reached for both sides to be content with the verbal understandings between them, it later developed that the two parties were further apart than previously believed. Ultimately, St. Tammany Parish Hospital issued an ultimatum to either accept their proposal, which would have permitted STPH to continue doing business until 2020, even if it did not meet the terms of the agreement. Otherwise, they would no longer operate Family Medical Clinic in Franklinton and would move the clinic to Folsom. After St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s deadline had expired without result, Riverside Medical Center nevertheless extended an offer to continue negotiations. This offer remained open until noon on Monday, Feb. 9.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Feb. 5 members of the Washington Parish Government, including: Wayne Kuhn, attorney for Washington Parish Government; Mike Fussell, president of the Washington Parish Council; and Richard Thomas, Washington Parish president; asked to meet with the leadership of Riverside Medical Center to extend support from parish government for continued negotiations. According to Mr. Kuhn, the three individuals from parish government had spoken to the CEO and board president of St. Tammany Parish Hospital regarding continued negotiations. The conclusion of the meeting between Riverside and Washington Parish government, after lasting several hours, authorized Mr. Kuhn to return to STPH with approval for continued negotiations. Mr. Kuhn worked to reach an amicable agreement between the STPH and Riverside.

After the deadline was reached on Monday, Feb. 9, the Riverside Board of Commissioners met to discuss what further action could occur to continue negotiations. Mr. Kuhn, who was invited to attend, asked the Board to delay any action at that time pending his discussions with STPH. St. Tammany Parish Hospital scheduled a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 10, to discuss what Mr. Kuhn had presented to continue negotiations. After this meeting, no action was taken by St. Tammany Parish Hospital to resume negotiations for the continued operation of Family Medical Clinic.

It is our sincere hopes that the physicians of Family Medical Clinic will seek their other available options to continue delivering health care in Franklinton.

In the meantime, Riverside Medical Center is continuing to grow and to seek joint ventures with other hospitals that will cooperate willingly for the mutual benefit of both parties in providing outstanding medical care for the residents of Washington Parish. The future of RMC is brighter than ever, and it is certain that RMC will continue to provide quality health care for the people of Washington Parish.

– Kyle Magee, M.D.

Riverside Medical Center CEO