LSU hospital cuts plans announced

LSU was able to identify dollars within the public hospital system that would mitigate 80 percent of the planned cuts.

But much of the reductions comes from one-time money.

The Health Care Services Division was able to come up with internal administrative changes to cover about 80 percent of the state’s match for the cuts that were required. “Most of this is not renewable. But what it does is that there is a desire to change how we operate in different areas,” said Fred Cerise, vice president in charge of the LSU Health Care Services Division.

“It gets us through this immediate crisis and gives us time to work on the things the board wanted us to work on,” Cerise said in an interview Friday afternoon.

Cerise was referring to what he said the LSU board wanted him and his staff to consider, such as public-private partnerships, sale or lease of hospitals and other models.

Cerise submitted his initial report to the LSU Board of Supervisors Friday afternoon that detailed how about $320 million in cuts would be parceled out. The $320 million represents one-fourth of the LSU hospital systems budget, but the dollars targeted represent 50 percent of the funds used to care for the state’s uninsured.

The proposed reductions include the closure of an operating room in the Earl K. Long Medical Center on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge and half the operating rooms at the Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma. The University Medical Center at Lafayette would reduce the radiology maintenance and physician contracts, according to the plan.

The Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center in Independence is reducing its treatments for cancer and diseases of the eye, the plan indicated.

Emergency room services would be decreased 25 percent at E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe, acute care beds will be reduced 35 percent at Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville, and LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport would reduce services and use one-time funds to allow time for more strategic long-term solutions, according to a report that will be presented Friday afternoon to the LSU Board of Supervisors.

The cuts are part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plans to close an $859 million hole in the state Medicaid budget prompted by a sudden decline in federal participation in the government health insurance program. Administration officials announced $522.5 million in budget reductions in response with 60 percent of them falling on LSU.