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Rush, Ochsner announce merger

Rush Health Systems and Ochsner Health announced Thursday the signing of a shared mission...
Rush Health Systems and Ochsner Health announced Thursday the signing of a shared mission agreement for Rush to merge with Ochsner, expected to be finalized in mid-2022.(WTOK)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 12:09 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Rush Health Systems and Ochsner Health announced Thursday the signing of a shared mission agreement for Rush to merge with Ochsner, expected to be finalized in mid-2022. This agreement builds on the partnership announced in 2019. Ochsner and Rush said this will expand health care access to patients in east Mississippi and west Alabama, “including high-quality, affordable and innovative care and more clinical specialties close to home”.

“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, Rush Health Systems. “We are excited to join Ochsner Health and work with them to continue to improve quality and decrease costs while enhancing access to highly specialized care closer to home.”

“We have tremendous respect for Rush Health Systems and the work they have done to advance care in Mississippi. The announcement today is a natural progression of our existing partnership with Rush, and we are excited to work with them to expand services while improving the health and wellness of people in the communities Rush serves,” said Warner Thomas, president and CEO, Ochsner Health. “We look forward to building on the great work of Rush to improve access to high-quality, cost-effective and innovative care.”

The health systems said nationally recognized specialty care will now be available to local communities.
Employees of Rush Health Systems will also see an increase in minimum wage to $12 per hour once the merger is complete in mid-2022. That impacts more than 400 employees.

A news release stated as Rush Health Systems joins Ochsner, the health system will focus on the following to benefit patients, including:

• Expanded access to specialty and sub-specialty services so that more patients can receive the care they need closer to home, including cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, neurology and highly specialized stroke care, women’s services, cancer treatment and surgical oncology.
• Innovation in healthcare delivery through Ochsner’s expanded technological and digital capabilities, including expansions in telehealth, digital monitoring and clinical improvements guided by artificial intelligence.
• Access to Ochsner’s robust clinical research network, one of the largest in the Gulf South, so Rush patients will be able to participate in groundbreaking, novel therapies, including the latest in cancer treatment, close to home.
• More efficient, affordable care through the sharing of best practices and resources. Economies of scale will allow Ochsner to find efficiencies throughout the system, and then invest more in programs and resources locally.

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