LA group backs rural charity hospital closures

A new report by the state's non-profit Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) argues that Louisiana should shut down its rural charity hospitals and pay private hospitals to pick up the slack. PAR researchers are in favor of keeping teaching hospitals in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport open, but suggest that the seven other non-teaching hospitals in the system should be sold or transferred to local authorities. PAR's suggestions dovetail with recommendations some other researchers have made, and also with the Bush administration's approach, which calls for plowing charity care dollars into private insurance vouchers. The current charity hospital system is run by Louisiana State University (LSU), which has, not surprisingly, taken issue with PAR's suggestions. LSU president William Jenkins has accused PAR of having a conflict of interest, suggesting that the group has taken its current position to serve the interests of the private healthcare organizations it solicits for funding.

To get more details on the group's proposal:
- read this article from The Times-Picayune