by Brad Ott, New Orleans
LSU’s Board of Supervisors, the governing entity of the state system, affirmed by vote today new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services. Citizens will now be responsible for finding services in some cases at facilities across the state if local hospitals chose to drop unprofitable health care programs.
The Board of Supervisors approved the rewritten contracts without objection and with almost no open discussion. The reworked deals are part of an effort by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to win federal approval to keep Medicaid dollars paying for the privatization arrangements.
The contracts covered that have been in dispute govern the management transfer of hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Shreveport and Monroe and the deal that closed LSU’s Lake Charles hospital, moving its inpatient services to a private hospital.
Federal health officials rejected prior financing plans and questioned some of the changes that may leave some residents without healthcare option that existed in the old system.
Several LSU board members raised concerns about the ease with which hospital managers can now exit the deals, saying they want the university system to devise backup plans. Only federal action may keep some programs open.