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LSU wants state health secretary to run med school, hospitals


Louisiana State University is trying to convince the head of the state health department to run its medical school and hospitals, including the state charity hospital system.

Dr. Fred Cerise, secretary of health and hospitals, confirmed Wednesday that LSU administrators have been talking to him about the position of LSU System vice president for health affairs and medical education, which the board of supervisors created in March.

“It’s true they have spoken with me but I don’t know what I’m going to do next,” Cerise said. “They have not offered me anything at this point.”

Cerise was appointed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Since she announced that she is not running for re-election, “I’ve had various people talk to me about opportunities,” Cerise said. For now, he said, he’s concentrating on the legislative session and initiatives for state healthcare restructuring that are getting under way.

LSU System President William Jenkins said they are talking to Cerise, a physician who has worked in the LSU hospital system as both an educator and administrator of LSU’s Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge, but nothing is settled.

“He is an extraordinarily well-qualified person whom we would love to have on our team,” Jenkins said.

The new position is in charge of the Health Care Services Division, which manages eight of LSU’s public hospitals and the LSU Health Science Centers in New Orleans and Shreveport, and the medical, nursing and allied health schools.

LSU has another top job to fill: someone to run the hospitals under its Health Care Services Division. That job was vacated when Jenkins moved Don Smithburg, whose contract ends in August, to another position.

The Blanco administration under Cerise’s leadership is pushing a new health-care delivery system based on a “medical home” model.

LSU plans to be a player in that system, which involves establishing networks of care similar to health maintenance organizations. LSU clinics and physicians would be key, providing preventive and primary care in network that would also include its hospitals and physician specialists.

Associated Press

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