OLOL meeting to figure out next steps amid cancer care war

After two high-profile business leaders this week publicly blasted Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center as “greedy” and “morally bankrupt” amid the hospital’s ongoing feud with the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, officials at OLOL and its parent organization, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, have been holed up in meetings trying to determine next steps, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

At issue:

• How to save face amid a public shaming by two respected community leaders, who also have been big donors and supporters of OLOL—Richard Lipsey and Tom Adamek, the latter of whom resigned as chair of the OLOL Foundation board over the situation.

• How to ensure patient care is not disrupted amid the complex business breakup. Because the independent oncology group practice that provides care at MBPCC and also at the LSU health clinic in north Baton Rouge has announced it will end its professional services agreement with OLOL at the end of the year and enter a new deal with MBPCC, OLOL has said the group, LHOA, can no longer continue treating its 1000 patients at the north Baton Rouge facility. The hospital also is threatening to cut off LHOA access to the EPIC medical records system that contains patient data. Though OLOL has said it will continue to treat patients in north Baton Rouge with its own oncology doctors, cancer patients generally do not like to switch physicians midstream. As for OLOL’s threats to cut off access to the EPIC system, providers and community leaders alike are saying that’s a step too far.

In fact, the LHOA issue was the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” for Adamek and prompted him to resign from the foundation board. Other high-profile members of the OLOL board have also gotten involved in the fray, according to sources familiar with the situation, and have been making calls to OLOL leadership trying to help salvage the situation.

Lipsey has said he is hoping to arrange a lunch meeting next week with members of both the MBPCC and OLOL boards to come to a detente, but it is unclear if and when that meeting will take place.

In the meantime, MBPCC is still moving full steam ahead with plans next week to finalize its new affiliation agreement with a national network of oncology providers, OneOncology.

MBPCC announced in August it was ending its nearly decadelong partnership with OLOL and affiliating with OneOncology, after not being able to come to terms with OLOL on a new affiliation agreement.

It has since come to light that OLOL had proposed a takeover of MBPCC.

Adamek, who also chairs the MBPCC board, says the Nashville-based OneOncology group remains committed to its investment in MBPCC and is undeterred by the fireworks in Baton Rouge.

“They have dealt with these kinds of situations once or twice before,” Adamek says. “We’re set to sign next week.”

(Editor’s Note: This story has been revised to correct the number of LHOA patients at the LSU north Baton Rouge clinic, which was incorrectly underreported. Daily Report regrets the error.)