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Dr. Brad LeMay leaving Natchez

NATCHEZ — A Miss-Lou cardiologist said Friday he will be leaving the area.

Dr. Brad LeMay, a St. Francisville native who started his cardiology practice in Natchez in April 2010, said he will be leaving after failing to negotiate what he feels is a satisfactory contract with Natchez Regional Medical Center.

LeMay is affiliated with the Jackson Heart Clinic, which NRMC contracted with to provide a diagnostic cardiologist.

NRMC Chief Executive Officer Bill Heburn said the hospital’s board made LeMay the offer of a new contract Thursday morning, and he officially has a week to consider the offer.

Friday afternoon LeMay cited what he said was a lack of backup and time off in the contract, as well as an apparent unwillingness to continue working with Jackson Heart on the hospital’s part, as reasons he would be leaving.

“I asked for them to stay with Jackson Heart and give me some call coverage,” LeMay said. “They are not willing to continue it. I finally gave up this week and told them, ‘Fine, forget it.’”

Jackson Heart Clinic’s contract with Natchez Regional Medical Center has been on a month-to-month basis, Heburn said, and will run through May 31.

LeMay characterized the contract offer the board made him Thursday as being less than the offer that was given him when he first came to the area.

“There was no real call coverage, less time off and less money,” he said.

“I told them this morning I am not going to do that, I will just go back to where I was.”

Heburn said the hospital board deliberated on the contract offer for some time, making LeMay an offer that was rated against a national gauge of doctor pay levels, time off and other factors.

“The board of trustees at this hospital made a very, very great offer to Dr. LeMay, and it is up to him — he has until up to next week,” Heburn said. “If it doesn’t work out with Dr. LeMay, we will continue to seek out additional opportunities that will continue to grow those (cardiology) services for our marketplace.”

NRMC Chief Administrative Officer Donny Rentfro said it is the desire of the hospital to have a cardiologist in Natchez providing care that meets the needs of Natchez.

“Cardiology remains a top priority for the (Natchez Medical) Foundation and Natchez Regional,” Rentfro said. “We will continue to pursue and maintain a cardiology presence in the Miss-Lou.”

LeMay said that since he made his decision Friday, he had not had time to work out the logistics of where his patients will be referred.

“They need to know that Jackson Heart is still available to see them and absorb those patients for those problems, it’s just in Jackson,” LeMay said.

Rentfro said the hospital will keep its catheterization lab open in the interim.

“We do many other procedures in that space as well, and we will certainly keep the cath lab functional,” he said. “The cath lab is a key for many of our service lines.”

LeMay said he has three job offers in Hot Springs, Ark., and has a house there from a previous practice. LeMay worked in Hot Springs for 20 years prior to locating in Natchez.

Despite the sour note at the end, LeMay said he has loved his time in Natchez.

“If anything is said or written, the last three-and-a-half years I have been here have been the best three-and-a-half years of my life — I wouldn’t trade it regardless of what has been going on,” he said. “I think a lot of good things are going to happen for Natchez, and I am really sad I will not be part of it.”

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