Lawmakers continue to question Earl K Long closure

Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 7:51pm

The fall out at the capitol from the Earl K Long/Our Lady of the Lake merger continued Thursday. This time with a last minute house concurrent resolution on the floor to stop the privatization of state hospitals.

"(I want to) Heighten the awareness, bring to the attention that there are still unanswered questions that we want to get answers to. and really put it on the minds of everybody here in the legislature to be mindful of this going forward in to other endeavors," explained Representative Regina Barrow, the resolution’s author.

Barrow said she filed the resolution with the Earl K Long merger in mind, but admitted it probably comes too late now to stop it.

"We've done all that we can do in order to bring it to a halt or at least slow it down so that we could get the answers. I felt like, it appears that it is a done deal and that the merger will actually be official on April 15th," Barrow said.

Barrow explained that she hopes the resolution at least forces lawmakers to take more time in future hospital mergers and forces them to ask more questions.

The Department of Health and Hospitals released this statement to us concerning the resolution:

“Yesterday the Legislature’s own Joint Budget committee approved – without a dissenting vote – the accelerated closure of Earl K. Long and transition to Our Lady of the Lake. This move was necessitated by more than $1 billion in federal Medicaid cuts handed down by Congress impacting both this fiscal year and next. We responded quickly to put together a plan that ensures residents will have continued access to the quality medical services they need at the best value for taxpayers. Our partnerships with hospital systems across the state represent a significant step forward for health care in Louisiana and will strengthen our commitment to delivering high quality health care services and graduate medical education."

The resolution will go through to committee. The resolution has the authority of both the senate and house, but doesn’t carry any legal weight.

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