Covering Louisiana

Mar 7, 2013 12:39 PM by AP

In transition, LSU's BR hospital reducing services

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Declining staff levels at LSU's Earl K. Long Medical Center and its clinics in Baton Rouge have led to a reduction of inpatient and outpatient services to the poor and uninsured.

Employee departures have picked up since late January when LSU officials moved up the Long facility's closure date to April from its original November target date, while turning operation of Long's four free-standing clinics over to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. That hospital will become home to LSU's inpatient hospital care and medical education programs on April 15. State employees are losing their state jobs with the privatization move.

Dr. Kevin Reed, LSU's associate dean for Baton Rouge affairs, tells The Advocate that staffers are retiring, taking leave or changing jobs as the transition nears.

"As we move closer and closer to the transition, our ability to staff beds has become increasingly difficult because of the attrition of staff," Reed said.

The impact is being felt more dramatically on the outpatient side, where current patients are having difficulty scheduling appointments and new patients are on waiting lists, he said. Surgical clinic activity has also been negatively affected.

Civil Service statistics show that there were 1,078 hospital and clinic employees as of June 29 at the Earl K. Long facility. As of March 1, there were 794 employees -a reduction of 284.

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