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New reality for LSU Health patients

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 5:33pm

Some of LSU Hospitals and Clinics are changing they way they are run and funded. Tuesday LSU Health Care Services Division hosted the LSU Health Care Effectiveness Forum. The event broke down what the new "private-public" partnership system means for doctors and patients, plus how to get the most cost and time efficient care for the uninsured and highest risk patients in the state.

LSU Health treats more than 600 thousand patients a year. Some of those patients including those in Baton Rouge will now be treated at private-public partnership facilities. The goal of the new partnerships is to cut down in overall state spending for healthcare without cutting back on services.

Frank Opelka, MD, Vice President for Health Affairs and Medical Education for Louisiana State University, explained,"The straw that broke the camel's back was the federal matching assistance program reduction that caused about a 24 percent cut to services across the board for LSU public hospital system."

The private partners will lease or manage LSU hospitals and clinics.

"A change would be management or operational styles, but that would not change our delivery and the care that those patients receive using our physicians. Our employees that have now moved to the employment of the partner. They would see the same people taking care of them, " Opelka said.

In Baton Rouge LSU has two main partners: Woman's Hospital and Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. They'll now take care of the more than 10 thousand patients in the area.

"Transportation for patients and getting into the communities to provide care is a challenge for any healthcare environment," according to Opelka.

LSU HCSD officials say the biggest change in our area is for patients at Earl K. Long. They'll have to go to our Lady of the Lake for inpatient procedures and emergency room care.

Opelka believes the private-public partnerships will help LSU continue it's mission to care for individuals: "You want to know that everyone has access to health care when they need it. We can actually do the prevention services maintain their chronic care handle acute care issues maintain the ability to remain healthy productive people in our state."

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