East Jefferson General Hospital

East Jefferson General Hospital is seen in Metairie on Nov. 17, 2022.

LCMC Health has started another $14.1 million in work at East Jefferson General Hospital, nearing the $100 million it committed to spend on capital improvements after taking the hospital private in 2020.

The contractor, Lemoine Co. of Baton Rouge, is adding 30 intensive care rooms to the Metairie hospital, mostly by taking over underused space in the 420-bed building, LCMC Health officials said.

"It's a pretty large chassis," Maurice "Mel" Lagarde, LCMC's chief strategy and growth officer, said Wednesday.

Until now, East Jefferson General had 29 ICU rooms, an LCMC spokesperson said.

LCMC bought the public hospital from Jefferson Parish for $90 million, and promised to spend $100 million within five years on upgrades. Since then, it has installed new emergency generators, a new heating and cooling system and a new MRI machine, and shifted the hospital to electronic health records.

"We're closing in on $100 million now," Lagarde said.

LCMC, a New Orleans-based nonprofit, has mushroomed in the past 14 years from a single property, Children's Hospital in New Orleans, to nine; it owns and operates six, and manages three others.

Its growth came as standalone hospitals across the United States found it harder to compete with multi-site health care networks, and positioned LCMC as a major player in the region, along with Ochsner Health System.

LCMC's latest acquisitions -- Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, Tulane Lakeside Hospital in Metairie and Lakeview Hospital near Mandeville -- are the subject of antitrust litigation with the federal government. Part of its acquisition plan is to move most of the 500 resident physicians at Tulane Medical Center to East Jefferson General, making it more of a teaching hospital

CORRECTIONS: Earlier versions of this article incorrectly described the ICU expansion project and the total number of hospitals that LCMC controls.

Email Drew Broach at dbroach@theadvocate.com.