Dear LSU board members,
Over the past few weeks I have heard from many people afraid of the decisions you will make this Thursday.
I have heard many tearful stories of minor injuries that become life threatening because someone did not have access to basic health care. Just the other day, an optometrist friend told me about a hard-working seamstress showing up at his office with significant deterioration of her vision because cuts to LSU-UMC over the past 6 months keep her from the proper treatment of her diabetes.
Is this what we are turning into? A state that strips individuals of their dignity and leaves them only to turn to the disabled rolls?
I am disappointed that the LSU board is considering changing its mind and voting on a totally different plan just two months after making a unanimous vote approving Dr. Cerise’s plan. The Cerise plan essentially saved critical services preserved the LSU residency programs. It also allowed legislators an opportunity to reprioritize funding next year to protect life.
Is the board going to change its mind on major decisions like this every two months?
Over the past few weeks I have also had many young people telling me that they wanted to go to LSU for medical school but are now reconsidering because of the uncertainty surrounding your decisions.
Contrary to what the narrative has been from our governor’s office, over the past decade LSU has done an excellent job at modernizing and improving efficiency to the healthcare delivery process. LSU has much to be proud of and should not allow anyone - even the governor -- to misconstrue your record, discourage qualified applicants and destroy the reputation of your medical school.
Here are some of LSU’s accomplishments:
-With now over 70% visits outpatient, LSU has shifted very fast to a model of primary care for people, saving money and lives.
-HEDIS indicators for the uninsured and Medicaid and Medicare patients in your system are outperforming indicators outside of the system in Louisiana.
-You rank in the top 20% in cost efficiency in the University Health Consortium.
I urge you to redeem our culture - the culture of life. I urge you to save LSU medical school and its residency programs. Let the Louisiana Legislature have the chance to set priorities straight once again in Louisiana.
Life has always been our priority and our charity system has been around since 1736 to help us make life that priority.
State Representative Stephen J. Ortego