N.O. City Council committee meeting focuses on mental health care cuts

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by WWL-TV / webteam@wwltv.com / @WWLTV

wwltv.com

Posted on February 23, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 23 at 10:14 AM

NEW ORLEANS - Millions of dollars in pending mental health care cuts and the affect on public safety is the focus of Thursday's New Orleans City Council committee meeting.

The city's health, education and social services committee will convene and they invited the New Orleans legislative delegation and Gov. Bobby Jindal.  A spokesman said the governor will not be able to attend the meeting.

Last week, Councilman Jon Johnson called on Jindal to come and speak at the meeting. Johnson made the request just before the city council passed an ordinance asking Jindal and the LSU Interim Hospital to immediately find alternative ways to make the $15 million in cuts without reducing the city's mental health resources.

LSU officials have since pledged to maintain services to patients in need at the interim hospital, even though the hospital will not have a dedicated detox unit. The hospital will use general medical beds for alcohol and drug abuse patients who require medical detoxification.

The city may not be able to make progress in reducing crime without being able to take care of these patients, council members said.

"I think if there is any one thing that can be done very definitely, very clearly is for the governor, and without beating up on governor or trying to discredit him or criticize him or anything of that nature, I think it was the wrong decision," Johnson said.

A representative from the Department of Health and Hospitals, LSU and the city's health commissioner are expected to attend, as well as members of the local legislative delegation.

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. in City Council chambers.

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