Safety-net hospitals, med school leaders sound budget alarm
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's health officials have ramped up their warnings to lawmakers about budget cuts.
They say the proposed reductions could devastate services at Louisiana's safety-net hospitals, cripple medical education programs and create damaging ripple effects for years.
Lawmakers are debating how to close an estimated $700 million gap in the budget year that begins July 1.
The managers of Louisiana's charity hospital system that cares for the poor and medical school officials spent Sunday and Monday in Senate and House budget hearings.
Hospital operators described dire scenarios of clinic shutdowns and widespread service elimination if plans to dramatically scale back their financing take hold.
Medical school leaders said shuttering of clinics, inpatient beds and services would give them fewer places to train students and fewer dollars to run their programs.