Cuts still looming for LSU-run hospital system
If LSU leaders can't find new, permanent financing sources or ways to cut annual spending for the university's public hospital system, internal memos offer a glimpse of the consequences flowing from the system's shrinking budget: severe damage to health care services and medical training programs. University officials are weighing long-term ideas for coping with dwindling state funds, after Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration decided to levy much of an ongoing federal Medicaid cut on the LSU-run network of hospitals and outpatient clinics. LSU is using stopgap funding to stave off many of the immediate cuts to the 10-hospital health system that cares for the poor and uninsured and trains many of Louisiana's medical professionals. But the Jindal administration has said continued drops in financing should be expected annually. Before they cobbled together the temporary fix, LSU health care leaders grappled with how to strip more than $300 million in annual funding—a quarter of the hospital system's financing—from its budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. The scenarios, outlined in documents released by LSU in response to a public records request, describe likely hospital closures, thousands of layoffs, jeopardized patient care, and medical training programs pushed to the brink of elimination. Most of the different cut-prompted scenarios, designed to preserve the LSU academic medical centers in New Orleans and Shreveport, would shutter a few or many hospitals and would jettison some of the university's health care training programs. The Associated Press has the full story here.
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