Houma, La. - The hospital bears his father's name, and when Leonard Chabert Medical Center faced an uncertain future, Senator Norby Chabert fought for it.
"Shortly after the last legislative session, we were handed a big pill to swallow from Washington," he says. "In typical fashion down here, when no one else was looking after us, we looked after ourselves."
Chabert on Monday welcomed the new team that will take over the medical center.
The hospital, part of the LSU Health System, will now be leased by Terrebonne Hospital Service District Number One, a subsidiary of Terrebonne General Medical Center.
"Terrebonne General is a wonderful facility but Chabert serves a population that unfortunately has volume that we could not to be able to sustain," says TGMC Chief Executive Officer Phyllis Peoples. "We recognize the talents and the expertise that Chabert offers. Graduate medical education is on the forefront, the staff that are employed here and give a skill set that we are not able to accommodate."
TGMC couldn't take on Chabert alone, so Ochsner Health Systems also got involved. Ochsner will manage the facility.
This hospital has long served the poor and uninsured in this community and the new management says that will continue under Ochsner.
"We're committed to this community. We have the exact same values the people here do. Our focus is on patient care, teaching and research. That's what Ochsner's been about for 70 years, that's what Ochsner will be about for the next 70 years, that's what Chabert's about and we're certainly excited to be a part of this."
For a proud son, this new partnership honors his father legacy. "It's never been about the name on the building to me," says Chabert. "It's been about the memories of him in his living room, fielding calls at all hours of the night... 'Leonard, my boy's sick, he's coming off the trawl boat, he's got no insurance, can you get him in the hospital?'"
That answer, says Senator Chabert, will continue to be yes.
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