POSTED: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 5:34pm
BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC33) — Dr. Frank Opelka couldn't hold back his joy when he spoke to the House Health and Welfare Committee. He, along with Department of Health and Hospitals secretary Bruce Greenstein and LSU System president William Jenkins touted the benefits of the LSU hospital system going to public-private partnerships.
"For the past several years D.H.H. has been transforming and improving the Medicaid programs to create a system that promotes better health outcomes, streamlines administrative processes and makes the most effective use of available funds. We've long recognized similar efforts are necessary with our system of state run and owned hospitals," says Greenstein.
Partnerships are necessary because of constant cuts to healthcare in Louisiana. The plan is for an agreement on the five partnerships to be reached within the next few months. They will be modeled after one started back in 2009 between Earl K Long and Our Lady of the Lake hospitals. Opelka and Greenstein both think the move will improve not only the training for medical students, but also the care that patients here in Louisiana will get. Lawmakers though were concerned about the effect these moves would have on people currently working in the LSU Hospitals system.
"If the hospital already has a full staff to take care of these patients, I don't see why they're going to necessarily need to hire any more," says Representative Bernard Lebas of Ville Platte.
"Our partners are very keen on trying to keep all these employees within the partnership because they actually provide a big and important aspect of the clinical care that we deliver," says Dr. Frank Opelka.