OLOL Foundation chair resigns, calls hospital system ‘morally bankrupt’ in cancer care war

​​Tom Adamek, who has been simultaneously serving as board chair of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and also Our Lady of the Lake Foundation, resigned from the foundation board today, as tensions between OLOL and MBPCC erupted into a free-for-all.

In a scathing letter, Adamek—the president of Stonehenge Capital and a respected community leader—blasts OLOL for the way it responded to MBPCC’s recent decision to end its nine-year affiliation with OLOL and partner with out-of-state provider network OneOncology.

Describing OLOL as “morally bankrupt,” Adamek says the actions of OLOL—which announced plans earlier this week to develop its own $100 million cancer center adjacent to MBPCC—are “spiteful, wasteful and morally indefensible ….”

The letter goes on to say, “ … with all due respect, OLOL and the (FMOL) System have lost their way and to me appear to have departed completely from their mission.”

While the letter may seem to be a lot of inside baseball to those outside the health care community, it underscores deep divisions in a health care market in the throes of disruption.

The letter also sheds light on the failed negotiations between OLOL and MBPCC that led up to MBPCC’s recent decision to partner with OneOncology.

According to Adamek’s letter:

  • OLOL and MBPCC had hired a consultant in 2020 and were working together on a growth and expansion plan that included a joint operating agreement. But in January, OLOL proposed, instead, a “member substitution agreement,” which would have essentially given OLOL almost total control of the 50-year-old independent cancer center.
  • “After much debate, MBPCC agreed to consider the approach, and in April (OLOL CEO) Scott Wester conveyed a term sheet proposing that MBP ‘give its entire operation to FMOL,” Adamek says.
  • MBPCC rejected the terms of the takeover proposal but continued to negotiate and try to reach an agreement by July 31, the deadline by which they had to renew the terms of their affiliation agreement, which expires Dec. 31.
  • In June, MBPCC told OLOL it had another potential partner in One Oncology, “but OLOL/FMOL showed no urgency or willingness to reach agreement around key matters,” Adamek says

The letter goes on to suggest OLOL was negotiating in bad faith. During Monday’s announcement about the new cancer center, Wester said plans for the center had been in the works for over a year.

“If this is true, OLOL/FMOL played me and the others for fools and the negotiations were a sideshow,” says Adamek’s letter, which also questions the need for a new $100 million brick-and-mortar cancer center in the market.

Finally, the letter takes aim at OLOL for notifying Louisiana Hematology and Oncology Associates, the oncology practice that is ending its physicians services agreement with OLOL in December to affiliate with MBPCC, that the hospital is terminating the agreement early, potentially impacting patient care for the final two months of the year.

“Why would a Christian organization knowingly be willing to risk harm to others?” Adamek says. “I just cannot continue to support an organization which apparently has become morally bankrupt”

In a statement, MBPCC says Adamek’s version of events is accurate.

In a statement provided after initial publication, OLOL says Adamek’s letter “misrepresents the chronology of events,” and that “in many instances the letter contents were false.” The statement, attributed to Wester, says MBPCC made the decision to “end its relation with OLOL. They chose to partner with out-of-state OneOncology.” The statement goes on to say that patient care provided by LHOA physicians will not be disrupted.

A separate statement attributed to OLOL Board Chair Bill Balhoff says ,“I have the utmost confidence that Scott and the leadership team have operated ethically and in the best interest of the community.”

Read the full statements.

(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include comments from OLOL)