Concerns over the possible sale and privatization of LSU Health Shreveport sparked protesters to picket in front of the hospital this morning.
"This place is for the poor people. Where would our poor people go? Where would our little children go?," asks Bobby Bradley, Union Representative for LSU Health.
Nearly 30 people, consisting of retired union workers and presidents, as well as state representatives let their voice be heard. They picketed in front of the hospital for nearly three hours, with chants of "Don't sell LSU" and "No more privatizing."
News has circulated for the past month that the hospital and medical school are looking to absorb $46 million budget deficit. Rumors of a possible sale have transformed into discussions of looking for private partners to invest and possibly run the hospital.
"Since then, it's had the employees and everybody across the state in an uproar. We're state employees and we're looking for job security as well as worrying about patient care," says Janice Priest, Union President for LSU Health.
Those protesting say severe budget slashes to LSU Health have a ripple affect in the community, cutting off a primary source of health care at its knees.
"[State leaders] will understand how important this hospital is, not only to the city of Shreveport, but the entire state of Louisiana, as well," says Barbara Norton, State Representative for District 3.
Protesters say pending the outcome of their picket this morning, they will decide on whether to hold another protest in the future.
The new chief of the LSU Health Care System, Frank Opelka, announced yesterday that he's hoping to detail plans for new and re-worked cuts when he meets with the university system's governing board next week.
Opelka's sought scenarios for cutting up to 34.5 percent of each hospital's budget.