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University Health managers ask state for $120 million - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

University Health managers ask state for $120 million

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

The Biomedical Research Foundation is asking the state for $120 million. The money would go to pay for new projects at University Health.
 
But why are they asking for public money to fund a private hospital?

It's been four months since University Health became privately managed by the BRF.
 
Now with the 2014 legislative session on the horizon it's time to test out where the hospital stands with money.

"I'm kind of excited the health care system appears to be flourishing now," said Rep. Henry Burns.
 
Burns said it's going to take some more tax payer dollars to get University Health on it's feet despite the fact that it is no longer a state hospital.

"Health care is very expensive and, to add some of the assets to it, it's just like when you bond something. You get it paid for and then you replenish that payment," said Rep. Burns.

CEO of the BRF John George said most of the financial requests with the legislature were created before the hospital went private but not all.
 
Gov. Bobby Jindal commented on this at a press conference last week.
 
"We committed to funding those projects that had already gone through the legislature and they are in the capital outlay process. Those will be funded. For the new requests that haven't been approved by the legislature, we'll consider those with the legislature as we do with all capital outlay requests," said Gov. Jindal.

This doesn't mean it will happen quickly either. It can take years to get a request for money approved by the legislature. 

So what will the BRF do with that $120 million?
 
They have five big projects planned out for University Health Shreveport and Conway.
 

This includes upgrades to UH Shreveport Outpatient Services, HVAC replacements, a new Children's Hospital at UH Shreveport, new essential medical equipment at UH Conway and a UH Conway Comprehensive Care Center.

University Health Shreveport is currently undergoing improvements with $25 million already in hand.
 
Reporter Jessica Crandall talked to long time LSU professor and surgeon Dr. Anil Nanda about the changes he's seen at the hospital in the past four months. 

"We are delighted to see the changes. It used to be it would take 45 days to get an MRI or 1-2 months for a CAT scan. Now it takes a day or two days, so everybody is getting better care," said Dr. Nanda.

Since University Health became a private hospital, they have embarked on 350 initiatives to upgrade the place. 

Hospital reps said employment has actually risen slightly while wait times are getting shorter.

According to Gov. Jindal, the purpose of privatizing all ten of the public hospitals in the state was to save money.

Crandall asked him if this has happened yet. 

"We've saved over $100 million in Louisiana. This is more than was projected. But, it was more than just saving money, it was actually keeping those hospitals open," said Jindal.


 

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