Deeper cuts coming to LSU public hospitals
The LSU governing board today backed a plan to deepen cuts to $152 million for the university-run public hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured, eliminating dozens of inpatient beds, some clinic services and nearly 1,500 jobs. The reductions will fall across seven south Louisiana hospitals, carving out 19% of the spending that had been planned for those facilities run through LSU's Health Care Services Division. In Baton Rouge, the plan includes cutting the Earl K. Long Medical Center's budget by $38.7 million, with 341 jobs eliminated. Various clinics in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Houma, Independence and Lafayette will also shut down. Inpatient beds will be decreased at every facility. At LSU's hospitals in Lake Charles, Lafayette and Tangipahoa Parish, inpatient bed counts will drop to 10 each. The plans approved today—which drew no opposition from the LSU board—don't include the LSU-run hospitals in Shreveport, Monroe and Pineville, which operate under different leadership and participated in a previous round of reductions earlier this year tied to the Jindal administration cuts. University officials say they hope services being eliminated at the public hospitals will be picked up by private health care facilities. But few of those agreements are in place, so it's unclear where some uninsured patients will receive care when services disappear at the LSU centers in the coming weeks. Frank Opelka, LSU's executive vice president for health care and medical education redesign, outlined the budget cuts, saying they were devised in close consultation with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.
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