Covering Louisiana

Oct 1, 2013 10:11 AM by AP/CS

Research foundation takes control of LSU hospitals

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A nonprofit research foundation has taken over management of the LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe.

The Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, or BRF, began its management of the hospitals Tuesday, under a privatization deal pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

BRF has never run a patient care facility.

An arm of the research foundation, which is led by one of Jindal's appointees to the LSU Board of Supervisors, will pay the state $39 million annually to lease the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport and E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe.

The Jindal administration says that turning over hospital management to BRF will maintain medical education programs and health services for the poor and uninsured, while cutting state costs.

Jindal has sought to privatize nearly all university-run hospitals and clinics.

LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, which previously operated the hospitals, will remain a part of the public LSU System. The medical school received about $30 million a year from the hospital in the past, but contracts with the foundation will replace that direct appropriation.

"We have value in the doctors. We have services we need to exchange," said Dr. Hugh Mighty, vice chancellor for clinical affairs at the Shreveport medical school.

He believes $58 million of the medical school's $106 million annual budget must come from the state. That leaves a gap of $38 million, which he thinks can be filled when medical school faculty members care for patients at the hospital.

Both sides are negotiating the agreement, but even without a contract, faculty members will be treating patients today, Mighty told The Times.

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