More cuts could be coming to public health care and hospitals

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 2 at 9:40 AM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Eyewitness News has learned that there could be another round of cuts to the public health care and hospital system across the state.

This is an exclusive look at just how many more people could be affected, and what it will mean to you.

Just two weeks ago, Medical Watch reported on major proposed cuts in the number of beds and people at University Hospital. Well now we're learning those cuts could go even deeper.

Sources confirm that another round of cuts are being considered by the state. This time we are told 20 more beds could be cut at the Interim LSU Public Hospital (ILH) better known as University. If that is approved, the total number of beds would be 90 on the downtown campus.

There are also proposed cuts uptown at DePaul to the mental health beds, bringing that down from 29 to 20 beds. The total loss for both hospitals would be nearly 100 beds in the last month or so. Also psychiatric units at both Bogalusa Medical Center and at Chabert in Houma, could be closed. Mental health doctors and professionals have long complained that even with these beds, the community and state fall short. One source described the situation as "grim."

LSU tells us that the Chabert mental health cuts in Houma are not definitive.

Eyewitness News has also learned that as many as half of the residents, those doctors in three, four and five-year training programs, after they graduate from medical school, could be cut from University Hospital as well. That could involve Tulane and LSU residents.

Sources say those in charge of the graduate program at LSU have been busy for a couple of weeks to see what other hospitals have the ability and are willing to train these doctors.

LSU has a total of 815 doctors in the residency programs, 248 is the total number of residents at University Hospital. In the past, 70 percent of the doctors who train in this area end up staying here and becoming the health care workforce for the future. Faculty doctors not only see patients in clinics, but they teach classes, train residents, and are a part of clinical research.

Residency programs must go through an accreditation process.

LSU says that the reduction in federal monies is prompting the cuts and delivery system changes but that it is seeking partners in the local communities to help cover gaps in care due to the reductions. LSU says as it transforms its health care delivery system, it remains committed to the patients and the communities it serves.

Tulane would only confirm that 95, that's about third of the residents at University, are Tulane residents. A spokesman said Tulane could not discuss if and how its residents at University would be affected or moved. The other nearly two-thirds are LSU residents.

There are meetings on these cuts Thursday in Baton Rouge with both the LSU Board of Supervisors and then later in the day with the joint health and welfare committees in the legislature.

Complete LSU statement:

"A recent reduction in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate Louisiana receives from the federal government is prompting changes in the way we deliver care. LSU's system wide share of the reductions amounts to more than $329 million when federal funds are considered. Additional budget reductions are expected in the near future. After careful consideration, LSU Health will recommend to the LSU Board of Supervisors on Thursday that it consider additional cuts to the initial FMAP reduction strategy approved in July. This plan would reduce clinical care to essential inpatient and outpatient services and preserve graduate medical education programs. LSU Health will also recommend that the Board of Supervisors endorse efforts to seek partners in local communities to help cover gaps in care due to the reductions. As LSU Health transforms its healthcare delivery system, we remain committed to the patients and the communities we serve."

Print
Email
|