Privatized public hospitals in Louisiana remain short on cash

Despite Louisiana officials going through great lengths to privatize its public hospital system, those facilities apparently need more than $100 million to continue operations.

The hospitals requested $142 million in their current budget requests to make up the shortfalls, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. New Orleans LSU hospital reported the biggest deficit and requested another $87.6 million. The hospitals in Baton Rouge and Lafayette say they need another $19 million combined.

The requests represent "the bare bones of what is required to deliver care to the people of Louisiana," Gregory Feirn, CEO of LCMC Health, which runs the state-owned hospital in New Orleans, told the Associated Press. "If the state does not restore the funding, then the state is deciding not to allow for care for the people of New Orleans, deciding not to open their state-of-the-art facility that is nearly finished and striking a crippling blow to medical education in Louisiana." 

It's also unclear whether the $1 billion University Medical Center in New Orleans will be able to open and adequately serve the community, the Associated Press reported.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and his administration privatized much of the Lousiana State University healthcare system in 2012, claiming that a series of Medicaid cuts made it impossible for the government to continue operating some of the facilities.

The budget allocations have upset some lawmakers, particularly Democrats. "I'm concerned people running the hospital ... are getting $87 million less than they think they need to perform their mission," State Sen. Ed Murray (D-New Orleans) told the Advocate. "What do we do to make those dollars up?" 

To learn more:
- read the Baton Rouge Advocate article 
- check out the Associated Press article