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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

John Bel Edwards' former right-hand man joins Ochsner as CAO

Matthew Block, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ former right-hand man and lawyer until last year, has joined Ochsner Health in the new position of executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

Block joins a 13-person executive leadership team at Ochsner's, which includes Dr. Robert Hart, Chief Physician Executive and President of Ochsner Clinic, and Mike Hulefeld, President and Chief Operating Officer.

Block, who returned to his private law practice in Thibodaux in October of 2022 from being Edwards’ executive counsel, is intensely familiar with both healthcare and Ochsner. He was at Edwards’ side as the governor expanded Medicaid in 2016, crafting the details of the policy change.

As for Oschner, Block has counted the healthcare system as one of his most influential consulting clients. So when Ochsner CEO Pete November offered him the position, it was an opportunity he couldn't pass on.

“Health care is one of the most fundamental things that any government does, whether state or federal,” Block said Tuesday, following his first day on the new job. “In Louisiana, with so much of our population on Medicare or Medicaid, those programs are critically important, and I think we have a very good story to tell about the work Ochsner is doing to help make our state healthier.”

As CAO, Block will be in charge of government relations, as well as oversee community affairs, real estate, philanthropy, compliance, internal audit, security and emergency preparedness.

"We are excited to have Matthew Block join Ochsner Health," November said in a prepared statement. "Matthew is an outstanding leader and problem solver with a proven track record of improving access to health care in communities across Louisiana."

Block is considered a skilled coordinator, known for his even temperament and ability to work with adversaries of his former administration. Gov.-elect Jeff Landry, was often one of the adversaries challenging Edwards repeatedly during his two terms.

Block said he looks forward to working with the Republican-dominated legislature and the new governor, despite his ties to the outgoing Democratic administration.

“I have known the incoming governor for a long time and we have a personal relationship,” Block said. “We respected each other, even in our previous positions, when there were times we had to take positions that were contrary to one another. I think he always knew it was not personal and I think as we start this new administration, everybody should be rooting for him to be successful."

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