Lafayette

Jan 25, 2012 7:19 PM by Maddie Garrett

Lawmakers Working on Plan for UMC Cuts

The deadline for a plan to make major cuts at Lafayette's University Medical Center is next week. The governor's office must present a plan to UMC's board of supervisors by Friday, February 3rd. The hospital is facing a $3.4 million budget shortfall and is looking at cutting around 80 jobs.

Meanwhile, Acadiana lawmakers are working on what they call a strategic plan for UMC to save some programs. Senator Fred Mills and Representative Stephen Ortego are heading up that delegation out of Lafayette.

"We're still in the process of negotiating on where we should have cuts and where we shouldn't," said Ortego.

Mills said nothing is set in stone yet, saying "It's a fluid dynamic right now that's about changing on a day to day basis as we talk about it."

They explaiend there are three levels to the budget shortfall; first is trying to find the money to fill it.

"We're working on seeing if we can get local funds to match on a federal level to back fill the void we have right now on the financial side," said Mills.

Second, if there are cuts, such as eliminating pediatrics or OB/GYN services, making sure patients can get those same services elsewhere.

And finally, both law makers fear if UMC loses its residency accreditation, where med students go to practice and earn their MD, it could have far reaching negative effects beyond the hospital and into Acadiana.

"74% of the doctors who have been coming through the residency program here at UMC have actually stayed in the area," said Ortego.

"it's a feeding ground for doctors and as we all know a strong physician base is important for economic development, it's important for folks in the Acadiana area," added Mills.

While the legislators can't make the final call on what actually stays and what goes, they said they're meeting with state officials next week to help in the decision process.

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