Ochsner Medical Institutions in New Orleans and a Houston-based order of nuns have decided to end a Louisiana managed-care health network started 15 months ago.
The end of Ochsner-Sisters of Charity Health Plan must be approved by the state insurance commissioner. But the split will not affect the healthcare that the plan's participants receive, both groups said.
Before uniting in October 1994, the nuns had a PPO, while Ochsner had an HMO. Each will regain control of the providers they brought to the network.
The Sisters of Charity Incarnate Word will take back the $17.9 million it provided to launch the association and concentrate on its PPO and hospitals in Alexandria, Lake Charles and Shreveport, said E. Shannon Cooper, M.D., Ochsner Clinic's medical director.
Differences over managing the plan appeared last May, Cooper said.
"It is much more complex than it was originally thought to be," Cooper said.
The nuns felt Ochsner had changed its commitment to a statewide system, looking toward the entire southeastern United States instead, said Linda McDonald, a spokeswoman for the order.
"I think that's fair," Cooper said. "We haven't had any disagreements. It's just a question of agreement and flexibility."
Under terms of the split, doctors at the order's hospitals will treat Ochsner health plan enrollees for five years, Cooper said.