NEW ORLEANS -- As Eyewitness News first reported earlier this week, deep cuts are coming to the state public health care system.
The exact cuts were spelled out for the LSU Board of Supervisors today in Baton Rouge.
The cuts handed down were approved by the Board with no objection. Another $152 million slashed from the budget affecting seven south Louisiana hospitals, getting rid of dozens of inpatient beds and 1,500 jobs.
Dr. Frank Opelka, who is in charge of the health care and medical education redesign, said that "LSU Health has long been on an unsustainable path that threatens the strength of our medical training programs."
When asked when the cuts would go into effect he said, "When you look at the cut plan, some of them can take place as early as next week, but whenever we're dealing with personnel actions, we're looking at most of those in January."
In New Orleans, the Interim Louisiana Public Hospital, better known as University Hospital, will be cut to 90 beds. Its 36 intensive care beds and 29 psychiatric beds at DePaul will remain.
But 423 jobs will be lost. Surgery schedules will be consolidated. Two operating rooms will close. And surgeries will need to pass higher scrutiny for authorization from insurance.
The Level 1 Trauma Center, which contracts with 10 parishes to treat those with life-threatening injuries in this area, will remain. That's where a highly trained, specialized staff is always on duty. It's where police, injured in the line of duty, are taken.
Chabert in Houma will lay off 245 people and downsize to 58 beds.
Bogalusa Medical Center will lose 146 positions, going to 28 beds with no psychiatric unit.
LSU officials say they want to partner with private and community facilities to support the uninsured and underinsured who depend on the Charity system.
LSU officials say with the new, state-of-the-art medical academic center going up, they expect the delivery of health care, and how the nearly 1,000 residents are trained, to change, using more private partners and building new biomedical innovation.
But sources inside the health care system say they are concerned about the quality of medical education and that there will be long waits for sick people to get a bed at University Hospital.
And when it comes to mental health care, they are also concerned that since Medicaid reimbursement rates are so low, private companies may not want to form partnerships.
LSU officials also met with the Joint Health and Welfare committee of the legislature. Members have concerns that there will be gaps in coverage for people in need during all the changes.
For a complete statement and list of cuts, click here.