Ortego to LSU Board: Save our charity hospital system
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.
Sincerely yours, State Representative Stephen J. Ortego
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.