Pending budget cuts could force closure of LSU Medical School
Shreveport's largest employer is being faced with staggering cuts to its operational budget that would cripple the LSU Health Shreveport Medical School.
"State funding would be reduced to a point that we couldn't operate anymore," says Sally Croom, spokesperson for LSU Health Shreveport.
Croom says if the state's proposed $25 million budget cuts pass the senate, the medical school and hospital would eventually collapse.
"Hundreds of thousands of people depend on this institution for health care," says Croom.
People like Aaron Selber, who not only serves on the LSU Foundation Board but also visits the hospital as a patient.
"I'm older. I know I'm gonna get sick and I'd like to be treated by a competent medical staff," Selber says.
Selber says the Med School produces about 70 % of the doctors who practice in Louisiana.
He says the closure of the school would send shock waves throughout the community.
"This represents a tremendous potential step backwards," he says.
Croom says the long-term consequences of these cuts are severe, with more than 6,000 people depending on the hospital for employment.
"Faculty members who bring unique skills and unique specialties to our community who like to be here because of the teaching aspect probably would look elsewhere," explains Croom.
The LSU Health Shreveport campus is structured in a way that the Med School and hospital are dependent on one another. If one loses significant funding the other is directly affected.
The hospital generates about $773 million annually in economic development within the community. 1,300 medical students would be displaced if the school was forced to close.
400,000 patients would have to seek medical treatment elsewhere every year.
These proposed cuts could also mean the LSU Nursing School in New Orleans would be forced to close, affecting more than 900 students there.
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