MDs sue Louisiana over uninsured care

As if state healthcare administrators weren't facing enough problems already, they're now battling a lawsuit over free care provided after Hurricane Katrina. Doctors at a New Orleans-area hospital, West Jefferson Medical Center, have sued the state for $100 million. The 381 physicians bringing the suit argue that state officials should reimburse them for treating indigent patients, which they've done since August 2005 in the wake of the hurricane. The physicians estimate that 30 percent of patients coming into the hospital's ED after Katrina were uninsured. The state does in fact set aside money for indigent care, including $120 million last year, but its current policy is to reimburse hospitals rather than physician groups. Administrators note, however, that they helped bring in $8 million in funding for private doctors who provided care for the uninsured after the hurricane.

To find out more about the suit:
- read this article from The Associated Press