2 Louisiana hospital systems propose merger

The Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital now taking adult Baker Acted/Involuntary Admissions. (PxHere)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Two Louisiana hospital systems are proposing a merger.

The nonbinding agreement made public Friday would merge Lafayette General Hospital's seven hospitals and 38 clinics and the Ochsner (OX-ner) Health System.

The Lafayette system is currently an Ochsner affiliate. A news release says the merger would create the Gulf South's largest and most comprehensive health provider.

Both systems will now check each other out more thoroughly and seek regulatory approval. Officials expect final approvals in the spring.

As part of the agreement, Lafayette General will be the health system's regional hub for southwest Louisiana and Ochsner will invest $365 million in capital and resources in Acadiana over the next 10 years.

In addition, the 800 Lafayette General employees getting minimum pay will see their hourly rate go up $2 to $12.