Consultant to report on hospital prospects

Deidre Cruse

A consultant hired to investigate the feasibility of building a small, new hospital near Plaquemine is expected to file its final report by the end of the month, Chief Administrative Officer Edward A. “Lucky” Songy Jr. reported last week.

Songy told the Iberville Parish Council the Ourso Administration would ask for a special meeting to discuss the report.

Last year, Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr.'s recommendation, the Parish Council agreed to set aside most of its federal Hurricane Gustav recovery money to build a new hospital to replace the defunct River West Medical Center.

In November, the council hired Stoudwater Associates, a national hospital consulting firm, to investigate the feasibility of the plan to support the parish's application to the Louisiana Recovery Authority for some $21.6 million for the project.

Stroudwater reported in January the money would not be sufficient to start the venture, and said the parish needed a private partner to make the project financially viable. The final report is expected to include a recommendation of potential partners.

Iberville Parish has been without a hospital since May 2009, when a federal bankruptcy court ordered it closed. A patient ombudsman recommended the closure after the medical group staffing the emergency room pulled out for non-payment of its fees.