Flying Without A Safety Net Means People Will Die‏

LSU's Decision to cut the charity out of the 7 Charity Hospitals in Southern Louisiana, instigated at the behest of the Governor to find a way to absorb Federal cuts to medicaid spending in Louisiana, speaks volumes about LSU's administrators disrespect for human life.  The Governor, for what appears to be political reasons, chose not to accept the Federal medicaid reinbursement that was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act.  This will hundreds of thousands uninsured, with nowhere to go.

Such a shame!  LSU physicians have a proven track record of offering some of the world's best and most advanced heathcare to all of their patients in Louisiana - regardless of class, race or economic situation.  Indeed, many insured people have communicated to that they would go nowhere else.  Doctors have offered their services with compassion and concern to all who enter any of the 10 State-run Charity Hospitals.

Medical students have traditionally come to New Orleans to study at Charity Hospital due to the challenging conditions, a complicated genetic mix and to participate in the most advanced medical scientific research in the country.  It seems that LSU is now mostly concerned with capitalizing on students to increase profit margins while eliminating services and programs for patients. Would potential students choose to study at LSU if they had to do their residencies at private hospitals under public/private partnerships with other hospitals. That question needs to be asked.  The national agency that accredits graduate medical education programs is pressing LSU officials for information on their plans to revamp physician training programs.

Compassion does not seem to imbibe to administrators and some legislators that dance to the Machiavellian beat of the Governor's drum.

That the decision to cut funding for the thousands of indigent, working poor and uninsured was implemented without first creating a system to absorb such patients means that many in Louisiana could very well die.
  This is not hyperbole.  Yet this was predictable.

The decision to privatize the Charity system - a single payer system thats biggest flaw was a lack of transparency and accountability - was made well before Katrina.

Brad Ott, is an expert in heathcare and, in particular, the Charity Hospital system and has revived Advocates for Louisiana Public Healthcare [ALPH] in the wake of the latest cuts.   His thesis is titled "The Closure of New Orleans' Charity Hospital After Hurricane Katrina: A Case of Disaster Capitalism"

There is a lot of evidence that LSU planned on closing Charity before Katrina.  See the part of his thesis  (after or about page 60) that deals with that hypothesis):

Ott points out that there are options to closing funding gaps without eviscerating charity care from the LSU system. 
The funding options include redirecting funds currently in the private schemes Bayou Health and the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership to public safety net LSU and community hospitals and clinics: and reallocation of DSH funds from provide providers to LSU and rural hospitals.

An old trick that right-wing conservatives use in order to eliminate government programs - that many people around the world know well - is to:   Intentionally starve the system to create it's collapse and then use it's collapse to show that it doesn't work and we must privatize it.  It seems that the people of Louisiana have fallen prey to this trick.

We are presented with this false choice by Governor Jindal and the LSU board of supervisors.  While the State had already cut the Charity system to the bone then,  because of  a federal $859 Million dollar cut to Louisiana's medicaid program, Governor Bobby Jindal decided to privatize the whole system.

Who wins and who loses under this sort of system?  Without transparency and accountability, what is to stop private insurance companies and/or hospitals from continuing to game the system?  The idea of forking over truckloads of public money to such private institutions before such regulations or partnerships are in place is distressing at best.

If that weren't enough,  at the LSU Health HCE Fall Quarterly Meeting October 16th, 2012, keynote speaker Dr. Opelka, emphasized that heathcare's future is no longer about bricks and mortar. Yet that's all we heard from LSU about why they had to build a Taj-Ma-Hospital in Lower MidCity on top of a now razed historic neighborhood and community. As well, at some point in the near future, New Orleans City Council will meet to turn over of Pershing Place (Nanny Goat Park) - our public park where the doughboy statue stands as a monument to WWI soldiers - to the State to increase land for a hospital that may be 100 beds at best.   Why on earth does the State need MORE land and why on earth would the Mayor and City Council allow it? Will that take more of the street grid? When the I-10 is dismantled -  (as planned) - think of the traffic nightmare.

So what can you do?


Sign this petition to the Lousiana Division of Administration & Department of Health and Hospitals to keep Southeast Louisiana Mental Hospital Open