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UPDATE: LSU Hospital to plug Shreveport med school funding gap - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: LSU Hospital to plug Shreveport med school funding gap

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

The $42 million hole in LSU Medical School's operating  budget apparently has been plugged.

Shreveport lawmakers were told by the Jindal administration today that the additional dollars would come from reserve funds at the LSU Health hospital. State Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, told KTBS a formal announcement was expected to be made Thursday.

Just a week ago administrators from LSU Health in Shreveport testified before a legislative committee that there was only enough money in the medical school to keep it operating until year's end. That set off a scramble among lawmakers to find funds. Then, this afternoon, Paul Rainwater, the governor's chief of staff, told several lawmakers in the back of the House chambers that the money had been found, Carmody told KTBS. 

On the Senate side, state Sen. Greg Tarver, D-Shreveport, has expressed confidence in the past week that the money would be found.

While welcome news for the Shreveport-Bossier City delegation, Carmody wasn't pleased with the manner in which the administration had handled the shortfall. Carmody was told by Rainwater that the reserves were to have been used by the hospital for another purpose.  

"My phone has not stopped ringing,'' he said from constituents who were worried about the medical school's future. Now, to the public, the sudden fix "may have the appearance that they had the money all the time.''  

To be sure, hospital revenues have been used in the past to shore up the medical school because the state doesn't fund all its costs. However, Carmody said, it hasn't been a contribution of that size. He added that this "sky is falling'' scenario will only heighten legislative skepticism the next time a shortfall is reported.

Meanwhile, the LSU Board of Supervisors is nearing a decision about whether to contract with the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana to manage the hospital. The decision on a contract could be considered as early as Tuesday.  It's not known how the contract would handle continued support for the medical school. 
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