by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | June 22, 2021
Rush Health Systems has inked a deal to merge with Ochsner Health and become Ochsner Rush Health.
The two are expected to finalize their consolidation in mid-2022 and in doing so, make access to high-quality and affordable care, and more clinical specialties, closer to home for patients in east Mississippi and west Alabama.
“We have recently worked with Ochsner on several initiatives, including the implementation of Epic, a best-in-class electronic medical records system, at our hospitals and clinics. Today’s news means that we are taking the next step in our partnership,” said Larkin Kennedy, president and CEO of Rush Health Systems, in a statement.
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The agreement is expected to make specialized care and subspecialty services available to local communities. This includes cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, neurology and highly specialized stroke care, women’s services, cancer treatment and surgical oncology. Ochsner’s technological and digital capabilities will help expand telehealth, digital monitoring and AI guidance for clinical improvements.
Rush will also be able to grow existing programs and offer new services to its patients, who will be able to participate in Ochsner’s robust clinical research network. One of the largest in the Gulf South, the network will grant them access to novel therapies, including the latest cancer treatment, closer to home.
In addition, minimum wage for Rush employees will rise to $12 per hour following the merger. Both healthcare systems will be able to share best practices and resources to create more affordable care, and Ochsner will be able to invest more in programs and resources locally.
“For decades, our organizations have benefitted from a strong relationship, dating back to when Dr. Leslie V. Rush Sr. hosted Dr. Alton Ochsner on several occasions in the early 1970s as a guest speaker for special events,” said Dr. Robert Hart, chief medical officer at Ochsner Health, in a statement. “We are thrilled that our relationship has continued to evolve to benefit our patients.”
Oschsner Health recently merged with Lafayette General Health
in Louisiana to form Ochsner Lafayette General for patients across the Acadiana (French) region. It included an investment of nearly half a billion dollars from Ochsner over the next 10 years and made it the largest healthcare provider in the Gulf South.
The merger will be completed following regulatory approval and governed by a board made up of Rush community members, physicians and representatives from Ochsner Health.
Rush will continue to use employed and independent physicians, and all medical staff will retain existing privileges. Patients may continue to use existing insurance at all facilities.