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Council removes, replaces entire West Ascension Hospital Board

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GONZALES - The Ascension Parish Council on Tuesday night voted 8-0 to oust the entire board that manages the only parish hospital on the west bank of the river.

The vote -- with three Council members absent -- may not, however, be the final say on the matter.

The West Ascension Hospital Board has been heavily criticized for its approach to health care, including its support for a renovation to the outdated Prevost Memorial Hospital.

Many who live in and around Donaldsonville believe an entirely new facility should be built instead.

Several proponents of a new hospital addressed the Council on Tuesday, as did a representative of the now-ousted board.

He questioned the legality of the move, which has already been challenged in court.

Though a judge this week refused to grant an immediate stay, a hearing is set for later this month and the legal wrangling could play out over weeks or months.

That didn't phase those who demanded a change. They applauded as the vote was taken and told WBRZ News 2 that Tuesday night marked a major step forward for Donaldsonville.

"We've had meetings with the officials at Prevost Hospital... trying to get them to listen to the community, listen to the residents," said Glenn Price, president of the Sunrise Community Group -- and a new appointee to the Board. "(Telling them) that we have enough money, we qualify for financing, we can build us a new hospital healthcare facility with medical services in Donaldsonville.

"But they would not listen to us."

The plans, instead, called for:

- Remodeling the hospital’s entrance, lobby, and business administration offices
- Modernizing the hospital’s wing of inpatient rooms
- Adding a new medical office building (for clinical services) and a new rehabilitation area

The building has not seen any major expansion or renovation since it opened in 1968.

The measure that passed on Tuesday included 17 reasons for the removal of the board -- many of them suggesting financial irresponsibility. It reads, in part:

Be it Resolved that, The Governing Authority of Ascension Parish, for the 17 significant causes outlined above and others not listed, removes the entire Board of West Ascension Hospital Service District, to wit: Michel Hirsch, Glenn D. Schexnayder , A. J. Gomez, Chuck Montero, and John Marchand and rescinds their appointments to the West Ascension Hospital Service District Commission, and replaces them with the following: Glenn Price, Falcon Mire, Chairie Levy, Tanya Mitchell and William Dawson. The terms of the newly appointed members (New Commission) shall correspond to their replaced members’ remaining terms (according to the order listed here) and;

Be It Resolved That, the New Commissions of this District formed by this document shall hold its first meeting on Wednesday November 29, 2023 at 6:00pm in the City of Donaldsonville and at this first meeting of the Commission, they shall proceed to organize by electing a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson.

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