Hospital district meets to pick counsel
St. Mary Hospital Service District No. 2 will have a special meeting Wednesday night to pick new legal counsel to replace Nicholas LaRocca, who resigned Nov. 13.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Morgan City Court, 7261 La. 182 East.
LaRocca’s resignation came at a delicate time for the district. Its board is negotiating with Ochsner Health System to assume management of Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan City.
Ochsner would replace LifePoint Health, which has operated Teche Regional under lease with the district since 2005 and has announced its intention to pull out of its Louisiana operations. LifePoint’s impending departure required another negotiation to keep LifePoint in place beyond the Dec. 31 departure date announced in a joint preliminary statement this fall.
As time has passed, the district appears less and less likely to have new management in place by the end of the year.
“I have expressed to the board that we have a fundamental disagreement on the way this matter has been handled and is being handled,” LaRocca said after he submitted his resignation, “and I cannot continue to represent them under these circumstances.”
He didn’t specify a specific problem with the process, citing attorney-client confidentiality.
The agenda for Wednesday’s special meeting includes discussion and any action on LaRocca’s resignation “and any action on the engagement of Bourgeois Law, LLC for professional legal services.”
The website for Bourgeois Law of Morgan City lists three attorneys. One of them, William Bourgeois, lists regulatory and governmental affairs and health care law among his specialties.
The agenda also includes a discussion and action on hiring Kolder, Slaven & Co. to perform the district’s annual audit.
Another agenda item calls for “discussion and any action on restructuring the planning and negotiation process and the designation of spokespersons and representatives.”
The agenda also includes a closed-door session of the lawsuit PHC Morgan City LP v. Hospital Service District No. 2.
Two years ago, PHC, the LifePoint entity created to operate Teche Regional, sued the district to stop an attempt to name one of its members, former member Natchez “Trey” Morice, to the hospital’s internal board. PHC claimed the power to name the district board representative to the hospital board. A state court judge ruled in PHC’s favor in 2017.