For LSU, health care partnership could be worth hundreds of millions long term

LSU's Tiger Stadium in 2019 (File photo)

How much might LSU’s new partnership with a major health system be worth?

There’s no telling, but LSU Foundation officials acknowledge the long-term deal could be “very significant,” potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

LSU recently sent a request for information to four health systems in the state, seeking ideas for an innovative health care-focused partnership that would be centered around sports medicine and LSU athletics, but also include pitches on how to enhance the value of on-campus assets like the student health center and the planned four-story, $70 million Interdisciplinary Science Building.

LSU declines to identify the four health systems invited to respond to the procurement, though the state’s two largest systems, Ochsner and the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, confirm they were among the four.

Both systems already have existing relationships with LSU through their graduate medical education programs.

Partnerships between health systems and athletic entities, be they at the professional or collegiate level, are growing in popularity and make sense for both sides, according to industry sources.

For a health system, a partnership is a way to co-brand with a popular team or university, which brings exposure and potentially helps grow the patient base.

LSU suggests as much in its RFI, saying, “When Louisiana’s single-most impactful entity, LSU, partners with a healthcare provider and tells the story about why they picked this provider, countless Louisiana families will pay attention and likely use this information in their future decision making.”

The health system also gains access to a distinct population, which it can leverage to do research and to test population health strategies in action.

The university or sports team, on the other side, gets money for capital investments, as well as access to medical experts for its athletes, students and even employees.

One recent local example is the partnership between the FMOL-owned Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette and UL Lafayette athletics. Earlier this year, the hospital signed a 15-year, $15-million deal with the university, which will help fund a much-needed renovation of the soon-to-be-renamed Cajun Field at Our Lady of Lourdes Stadium.

Through the partnership, OLLRMC also provides physicals for ULL personnel and medical treatment for ULL athletes.

Texas A&M has a much more extensive partnership with CHI St. Joseph Health, which includes training for medical students and medical benefits for university employees, as well as athletics sponsorships

The deals can be structured any number of ways, which is why the RFI is open-ended, LSU Foundation officials say.

“There are definitely some ideas that we have in mind of what might be proposed but there is definitely an openness to what these organizations feel is the right approach for them,” says foundation spokesperson Sara Crow. “A lot of things are on the table at this point.”

Though LSU invited only four health systems to respond to the RFI, Crow says the process is open to any system interested in participating.

After a committee reviews the responses, which are due Dec. 10, the university will likely issue a request for proposals, which will more clearly define the parameters of what the university is seeking and include dollar figures.