Jan 20, 2012 7:32 PM by Melissa Hawkes

UMC Could Cut Services

Five services are in jeopardy at University Medical Center because of a state budget deficit. The services on the chopping block are ENT, Ob/ Gyn, the pediatric clinic, Ophthalmology and Orthopedics.

Many parents are concerned about the pediatric services possibility being gone. Nurse Tammy Villalobos has worked at UMC's Pediatric Clinic for 28 years. She knew cuts were coming but never expected her whole department could be laid off.

Pediatric Nurse, Tammy Villalobos, said, "we provide so many different services, we just found it so hard to believe that something like that could happen to this area."

Every month about 450 patients come to the pediatric clinic seeking help, many of them are uninsured or on Medcaid and said they don't know what they'd do without the clinic.

Patient Denise Stevens said, "I don't know where else to go because you know the staff and the doctors, you know it's like a family. What do you do now."

Hospital Administrator, Larry Dorsey, said "we were mandated by LSU to cut pediatrics and ob/gyn."

Dorsey said at first he was told the two departments had to go, which would eliminate their services and lay off all of the employees. Now Dorsey is working to move all pediatric patients to family medicine, possibly saving a few jobs and keeping patients happy.

Stevens said, "our patients are going to have some difficulty finding other care because many of the pediatricians refer their patients to our specialists."

Linda Reddoch searched for years to find a specialist to help her 5 year old son Nathan. He has severe sensory and speech issues. She finally found a therapist at UMC three months ago and doesn't want to have to start searching all over again.

"A dramatic change in just a short time because these people are dedicated to their patients and they care about them," Reddoch said. "There's no where else we can go to get the quality and type of care he's been receiving."

Dorsey said the cuts will save the hospital 4 million dollars. Around 85 positions could be eliminated, which includes16 physicians. Residency programs could also be affected. Hospital staff and patients' are still holding out and urging people to put pressure on legislatures to help find the funding.



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