Budget shortages in public hospitals forcing LSU to change residency programs

DollarsIt seems all too often that budget cuts are negatively affecting the quality of higher education, many times in completely unexpected ways. The LSU hospital system is facing over $150 million in cuts, mostly due to the reduction in federal Medicaid spending and a freeze in state Medicaid. If proposed Medicaid budgets reductions take place, the hospital system could face even deeper cuts.

The University Medical Center in Lafayetta is facing $22 million dollars in cuts alone. Currently it operates 48 inpatient beds, but that number will soon be down to 10. The system is expected to lay off more than 1,500 workers, roughly 25%, and create a desperate situation for the high population of low income and uninsured in Louisiana.

Larry Hollier, Chancellor of the LSU Health Sciences Center, gave notice to the staff, residents and students that the budget cuts may impact the schools programs in various ways. The reduction in funding will lower the number of patients public hospitals will be able to treat and create a situation where residents and students will have inadequate hands on training, time affecting the quality of their education.

The short term solution is to move residency programs away from state run hospitals and hopefully into private ones. But, many feel that the cuts will affect the overall system negatively. Many physicians who are employed at LSU are concerned that their positions are at risk while students and residents fear not finding in-state residency programs or being able to complete their medical studies.