Category: LSU Health Science Center

Zika Virus Dangers in Shreveport

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This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. On Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, U.S. health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and causes only a mild illness in most people. But there’s been mounting evidence linking the virus to a surge of a rare birth defect in Brazil. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

by William B. Wiener, Jr.

For all inhabitants of Shreveport, the City Council, and Mayor Tyler, the issues of the Zika virus will reach critical mass if we fail to understand the potential dangers and begin to address them properly. We must remember that in 1873 Shreveport was devastated by the Yellow Fever epidemic which killed one-fourth of Shreveport’s population.

Yellow fever is initially spread by mosquitoes, then human to human, and Yellow Fever is active today and potentially spreading Read more

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Jindal’s North Louisiana Hospital Hoax Collapsing

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Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

In spectacular fashion, the badly misnamed “hospital privatization” scheme of Governor Bobby Jindal in Shreveport and Monroe is now collapsing.  The appalling scenario now playing out is about as surprising as any given day’s embarrassing headline about Governor Jindal’s faux presidential campaign.

Success-Failure IntersectionFor any who are interested, and missed them in 2013 and early 2014, here are my initial three articles on the subject, published in The Forum Newsweekly and/or on Bob Mann’s Something Like the Truth and Marion Marks’ Forward-Now blog:

July 9, 2013, “LSU Hospital and Medical School”

July 23, 2013, “LSU Medical School Deal, Beware Toxic Politics”

August 21, 2013, “Of Gods, Angels and the Shreveport Biomedical Research Foundation”

As more and more details of the Jindal op became available, and the October 1, 2013, takeover by Read more

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CPSB Pays Big Bucks To Goree and Abrams– Chump Change for Teachers and Staff

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Opinion by John Settle

 Caddo Parish School Superintendent Lamar Goree likes to brag about how great the 5800 plus employees of the Caddo School Board are at the community forums “explaining” the upcoming $108 million bond issue vote on May 2. What he fails to say is how poorly they are paid– much less how much the board pays him as well as school board attorney Reginald Abrams. And not surprisingly he does not mention how many hours he and his staff have spent in efforts to indoctrinate teachers and staff in mandatory meetings held before and after school hours.

Last Man Standing

Goree was selected by default in November of 2013. The School Board had a split 6-6 vote along racial lines—and Goree was selected by unanimous vote after Tim Magner (a white candidate) withdrew his name in an effort to promote school unity.He signed a 3 year contract that commenced December 1 of that year with a minimum base salary at $200,000 per year; the contract provided for incentive bonuses Read more

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BIOMED FOUNDATION WANTS TAX DOLLARS WITH LIMITED DISCLOSURE

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Opinion by John SettleThe Biomedical Research Foundation of North Louisiana (“Biomed”) is doing a great job – – if one does not believe that, just ask Biomed. But if a taxpayer wants more information to make a self determination of just how well Biomed is spending tax dollars – well, good luck.

On January 13 of this year, a simple public records request (PRR) was faxed to the office of the president of Biomed; the request was “to please provide detailed income and expense statements for 2014. Also provide listing of tenants and amount of space.” Under the Louisiana Public Records Act, a response was due no later than January 21st. A follow up fax was sent on January 28, advising that the January 13 PRR was overdue and that if not answered by Thursday January 28 litigation would be filed to require a response.

Answers NExt ExitDr. John F. George, Jr. (Biomed President/CEO) sent a fax on the deadline day that basically was a dodge. George provided a website address that contained the tax returns of Biomed for 2011, 2012, and 2013 – citing “IRS guidelines governing the public disclosure requirements of exempt organizations.” He also included a copy of Biomed’s 2014 annual report.

Biomed has recently persuaded the Caddo Commissioner to put a 1.74 million tax renewal Read more

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BIOMED TAX RENEWAL – MONEY GRAB?

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 OR, GOOD PLANNING?

John Settle Opinion Slug

In case Caddo voters are planning ahead, they can now mark May 2nd on calendars to vote on a tax renewal. And if that is not exciting enough, they may have a Caddo Parish School Board bond package to also consider on that day. This May could be a banner month for Caddo residents who do not own real estate – – getting to burden their fellow citizens who are landowners with more taxes.

Preaching from the Front-BioMedIn what must be the earliest vote on a tax renewal, the Biomedical Research Foundation of North Louisiana (“Biomed”) successfully convinced the Caddo Commission to schedule a vote for 1.74 tax renewal for a period of 15 years – – beginning in 2018; yes 3 years from Read more

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LSU Board Approves Rewritten Hospital Contracts

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The way it was...
Charity, the way it was…

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 Heart of Health Care for 75% of the region
Shreveport Medical Center – University Health?

The contracts covered that have been in dispute govern the management transfer of hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Shreveport and Monroe Read more

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LA Hospital Privatization & Biomed Worms Turn …

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by Elliott Stonecipher

The Heart of Health Care for 75% of the region
Shreveport Medical Center – University Health?

The LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe are once again in the news, as detailed in an article updating the main reasons why by Marsha Shuler at The Advocate.  As reported, Governor Jindal’s sketchy hospital privatization op is now, finally and officially, teed-up by the state Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH) for possible approval by the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Too much control?
Too much control?

The documentary record detailing DHH pursuit of CMS approval, shown on this page from DHH’s BayouHealth website, is extensive, underscoring the fact that gaining approval has been anything but routine.  Clearly, CMS scrutiny is focused on the way the Jindal administration rigged his healthcare restructuring to secure from new hospital “partners” extraordinary amounts of money, in advance, to be used in broader state budgetary needs.

Censorship-ControlRather than an emphasis in his healthcare push on the protection of the public’s interests, the focus has been on Jindal’s political control of every aspect of every one of these deals around the state.  Jindal uses the huge hospital lease pre-payments from partners even given that the state’s Legislative Fiscal Office has stressed from the jump that this is a mistake to Read more

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More Evidence Biomed Hospitals Not “Privatized”… and Worse

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By Elliott Stonecipher

The Heart of Health Care for 75% of the region
Shreveport Medical Center – University Health?

Some readers well remember it. A few months back, the LSU Board of Supervisors infamously approved the contract by which the State of Louisiana handed over our LSU Hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe to the Biomedical Research Foundation. The approval was infamous because 50 pages of it, the most important 50 pages of it according to many who are paid to know, were blank. Yep, blank, as in containing nothing but white space, blank. These months later, what should have been on those 50 pages continues to ooze out and away from the control of Governor Jindal’s well-known Anti-Transparency Gang – i.e., all state officials under his control. It is increasingly clear that what the people of Louisiana did not know, did, and will continue to, hurt them … perhaps a lot.Anon_Antigangpatch

Biomed, as it has long been known to its Shreveport neighbors and taxpayers – yep, it levies its own property tax millage – was a stunner of a pick for Governor Bobby Jindal’s so-called public hospital “privatization” gambit. First, Biomed never had any more to do with hospitals or healthcare than it had to do with dog-breeding. Next, its top guy, Dr. John George, has an epic conflict of interest since he is also a Jindal campaign contributor, and one of the guv’s appointees to the aforementioned LSU Board of Supervisors. Last, even with more than two years left in office, Jindal rushed the deal through as if it was chock-a-block full of … well, the kind of stuff that destroys presidential ambitions as certainly as Duck Dynasty has better TV ratings among Louisiana voters than Rachel Maddow.

John Kennedy Get 'em!!
John Kennedy
Get ’em!!

The Louisiana Bond Commission: Treasurer John Kennedy Puts Meat on the Bones of the Crummy – Illegal? – Deal

John N. Kennedy, Louisiana’s four-term State Treasurer, also serves as Chairman of the State Bond Commission. The Bond Commission’s role Read more

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Revealing New Contract Documents for State-Biomed Deal

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by Elliott Stonecipher

Clock ticks...
Clock ticks…

With only three workdays remaining before the transaction occurs, new contract documents reveal a properly tenuous foundation for the lease of the public’s LSU Medical Center in Shreveport and E. A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe to the Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF).  At issue in the handover are the availability and quality of care for Louisiana’s indigent and other poor, and the success of Governor’s Jindal’s signature and shaky “privatization” gambit for the state’s public hospital system.

Documents the public may never see...
Documents the public may never see…

The related stack of contract documents, when finally signed and sealed, effectively finalize the taxpayers’ lease of the Shreveport and Monroe hospitals and their clinics to the BRF holding company established for the purpose, BRF Hospital Holdings (BRFHH).  The original agreement was infamously approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors with 50 blank pages back in May.  Effective next Tuesday, October 1st, Governor Jindal’s Division of Administration (DOA) and the LSU Board of Supervisors will lease the subject facilities to BRFHH for $38,763,891.38 per year.  Notably, Dr. John George, a Jindal appointee to the LSU Board of Supervisors, is also Vice Read more

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Biomed Hospital Board, Property Tax, and More

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by Elliott Stonecipher

Time? Sure...
Time? Sure…

From Melody Brumble of The Shreveport Times comes the news that the Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF) has extended the deadline for nominations to the board of its new BRF Hospital Holdings (BRFHH) subsidiary.  That entity will become lessee of the formerly state-supported LSU Hospital in Shreveport and E. A. Conway hospital in Monroe on October 1st.  Nominations for board members will now be accepted through October 4th.

In a previous report on these subjects, I noted that initial planning for the qualifications for the BRFHH board notably did not prohibit family members of elected officials from serving.  As noted by Ms. Brumble’s report, and as shown on the Nomination form now online, such a prohibition is now explicitly stated.  Given the widely known involvement of some elected officials in the planning for operations of BRFHH hospitals, this prohibition is excellent news, assuming its enforcement.  

Also notable in the language on the nomination form is the following:

 Hire_ME  “If selected to serve on the Board of Directors, must submit disclosure of conflicts of interest.”
           
This language may or may not prove meaningful to the public.  Since the public Read more

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