Panel talks about hospital privatization in Baton Rouge - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Panel talks about hospital privatization in Baton Rouge

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Officials from all over Louisiana's healthcare system gathered together Thursday afternoon in Baton Rouge to discuss the how the state funding of the privatization of former LSU system impact tax payers.

Five people who have had either a hand in or a clear understanding of the privatization gave their opinion on the process. They were Jerry Phillips, an LSU advisor, Don Gregory of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, Jan Moller with the Louisiana Budget Project, Calder Lynch with the Department of Health and Hospitals and David Hood, the former secretary of DHH.

The event was a for a lunch and learn event by the Leaders With Vision out of Baton Rouge.

There was a mix of ideas-- some thought the privatization was a good thing for the state, spouting stats of more people getting the care they need.

Some played it down the middle saying it's still too early to tell if it will help or hurt the public's pockets.

While others thought the state should accept the federal money to expand Medicaid so people will not have to travel to these private hospitals.

“The model that they've chosen, privatize 10 hospitals, does not solve the problem of access at all,” said David Hood, former secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals. “It may provide better quality and I'm doubtful that it will be cheaper. I think it will be significantly more expensive.”

One question did come up about the missing pages of the privatization contracts, like the one for University Health in Shreveport.

Jerry Phillips said the contract has since been completed, but is a living contract so changes are made as they're needed.

In the end, most of the panel agreed we need to learn more about how the privatization works-- see the numbers of people helped compared to how much it costs-- before we know for sure if it's good or bad.

To read the Public Affairs Research Council's study on the privatization of the LSU system, click here

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