Health

Jul 19, 2012 11:17 PM by Maddie Garrett

LSU Health System Hit Hard by Medicaid Cuts

The LSU Health System has a number, but no plan, on how to strip $329 million from the hospital system. The cuts total $523 million for the state's health care system, handed down by Governor Bobby Jindal's administration last week. Of that, two-thirds falls on the LSU Healthcare System.

For Acadiana, that means University Medical Center will be affected. UMC already saw pretty harsh budget cuts earlier this year and this latest round has lawmakers worried, especially when it comes to patient care and the valuable training programs in the LSU hospitals.

"Public-private partnerships," "new, efficient models" were just some of the phrases tossed around as ways to deal with the budget cuts at Thursday's budget and healthcare briefing.

"We, as a delegation in Lafayette, are very very worried about the cuts coming down from these decisions being made. Actually in the next week the delegation will be meeting and trying to figure out other ways to hold onto our hospital in some sort of way, but there's nothing guaranteed," said State Rep. Stephen Ortego.

LSU System President William Jenkins said, "Within a month, we have to have at least the inklings of how we're going to handle it." But he didn't guarantee that hospitals and clinics wouldn't face closure.

"My biggest concern is for the children, for the handicapped and for the aging, that's what these hospitals are treating the most of. And I'm very concerned also about our residency program which is training all of the doctors in our area," said Ortego.

The cuts come after a reduction in federal Medicaid funding. DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein re-iterated that this is "not a crisis" at the meeting, but lawmakers aren't buying it, saying they believe these deep cuts will leave many people without care - mainly the poor and uninsured.

There were some bright spots at the hearing. Greenstien said rural hospitals will see an overall increase in funding due to medicaid coverage, even though DHH will eliminate payment to those hospitals. And the popular program, Early Steps, will not be affected at all by cuts.

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