Outraged leaders point finger at Jindal for ER closure
BATON ROUGE - Political and community leaders blame the Jindal administration for creating the issues which forced Baton Rouge General to close their Mid-City emergency room.
The group said the area served by the hospital would be a "Jindal Death Zone" if the ER stays closed.
"It's going to hurt you because of longer ambulance waits, you are going to wait longer in emergency rooms, and it's going to hurt the worst if you lose a loved one to this closing," said State Senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, Dist. 14. "We need to force the administration to fund the ER in Mid-City."
Legislative and congressional representatives met on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday with the outraged community leaders. While most patients seen at the Mid-City ER are not emergency cases, the group said they're worried about those facing life-threatening situations. They argue there's no real, workable solution and want the administration keep the ER open, until one is created.
"We are here today, to demand that the mid-city ER stay open until a viable plan has been developed," said Alma Stewart with Healthcare for Everyone Louisiana.
Governor Bobby Jindal said they've already invested in the hospital, and since that did not work he says it's time to look at different options. He said patients will receive necessary care.
"The General came to us earlier this year and asked for money we gave them that," Jindal said Wednesday. "If they have a new plan certainly we're going to listen. Obviously we're willing to consider if they have new ideas, but in the meantime we're working with the General, the Lake (Our Lady of the Lake) and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to make sure these people have access to the health care they need."
Hospital officials say they can't afford to keep the ER open, blaming the number of uninsured patients for the spike in their costs.
"It's scary because it's been there for so long, but it's probably not as huge a problem as it seems on the surface," said Baton Rouge Area Foundation President and CEO John Davies. "It's more of an emotional problem than a real challenge, I believe. Do I wish it could survive? Yes. But the economics clearly don't work."
Critics of the closure said expanding Medicaid under Obamacare is key and also suggest keeping clinics open 24 hours and getting businesses to contribute to the mid-city healthcare.