NEW ORLEANS - A noted Louisiana economist says the switch from the public Charity Hospital system, to public-private partnership hospitals, has been good for the state budget, the job market and patient care.
Dr. Loren Scott said the switch brought in private lease payments for the buildings and federal match funds of $525 million last year alone.  It also brought in another $350 million to pay doctors. 

Dr. Scott says in addition,  the state saved millions on the cost of maintaining all the properties. He said without the $2.7 billion impact of the nine public-private partnerships, there would have been more cuts to higher education and health care and problems for patients. 

 "There have been across the boards reduction in E.R. waiting times. We know that because what has happened here, the way it's being run, the partnerships hospitals, if you look at out-patient visits, they're going in to the clinics or they're going into urgent care centers. Way less expensive than going into E.R.," said Dr. Loren C. Scott, President and founder of the firm Loren C. Scott & Associates, Inc. He was speaking to the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

He says the move also saved the program to train new doctors, and created more than 17,000 jobs and $46 million more in tax revenues.