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LSU Health conducting own review of clinic operations - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

LSU Health conducting own review of clinic operations

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SHREVEPORT, La -

Allegations of a “dual system of care between insured and uninsured patients'' at clinics staffed by faculty and residents of LSU Health is an “assault on our physicians and core values,'' LSU leaders state in a letter to faculty, staff and students.

KTBS 3 acquired a copy of the letter that rebuts accusations made by University Health CEO Rod Huebbers. In a previous letter to LSU Health Chancellor Robert Barish, Huebbers said consultant reviews following UH takeover of the hospital and clinics indicated that people with insurance "were more likely to be treated in a ‘faculty' clinic'" while the uninsured were more likely to be treated in "resident" clinics.

UH, which took over the charity hospital from LSU in 2013, has self-reported its findings about long wait times to federal officials who oversee government insurance programs. Huebbers said UH began sharing its findings with LSU back in April, and again in July when UH sent its findings to federal officials.

"I think it would be nice to share the letter so we know exactly what they're talking about,'' Dr. Joseph Bocchini, pediatrics chairman, told KTBS Monday. “And certainly they indicated there was a fair amount of data that was put together that led them to make the decision to self report."

The data gap also was addressed in the LSU letter to faculty, staff and students:

“We have asked University Health to provide us with the data on which they base their claims. Neither our faculty nor the leadership team were privy to any discussions University health had regarding disparate care nor were we involved in collecting data and information on this matter. In lieu of University Health providing LSU with their data, we have begun our own review.''

Huebbers said Monday that LSU also has access to all the same data in their shared information system. UH is a new entity created to manage the teaching hospital that is a major safety net for the poor and uninsured in Louisiana. It was a hotly debated effort by Gov. Bobby Jindal to makeover state funded health care services. 

The full letter from LSU Health leadership reads as follows:

“The Leadership and faculty at LSU are deeply disturbed by the recent allegations that there has been a “dual system of care between the insured and uninsured patients.” The blanket allegations that LSU Health sanctioned or encouraged a “two-tiered system” of care is the antithesis of our mission and abhorrent to our faculty. This accusation is an assault on our physicians and the core values of our institution. The leadership and the physicians have chosen to work at a public hospital such as LSU because of a desire and calling to take care of the underserved. We see approximately 1700 patients a day in our clinics and emergency department and the overwhelming majority are uninsured, self-pay or Medicaid patients. Over the past three year, LSU faculty doctors provided over $300 million in free care to the uninsured.

“LSU Health was founded on the noble mission to provide excellent care to the poor as well as all Louisiana citizens who come through our doors. It not only is our moral obligation to provide the best care possible to the needy, it is a privilege to work in such an altruistic institution. We can promise you LSU has never encouraged a different standard of care for anyone nor would that behavior be tolerated.

“To safeguard patient care, LSU has always provided a means for patients to communicate problems through the fraud and compliance hotline. To our knowledge, no infractions have been reported. That being said, if any infractions have occurred over the years we will get to the bottom of it and own up to the responsibility of making it right. Given the enormous size of the hospital, the huge number of doctors and health care professionals providing care and the hundreds of thousands of patents seen each year, problems can occur. We seek the truth and will be transparent.

“We have asked University Health to provide us with the data on which they base their claims. Neither our faculty nor the leadership team were privy to any discussions University health had regarding disparate care nor were we involved in collecting data and information on this matter.

“In lieu of University Health providing LSU with their data, we have begun our own review. We will respond in a professional and timely manner once we have assessed the situation.

“We promise that the LSU Health leadership and physicians will act with integrity, honesty and sensitivity to this most important issue.”

The letter to faculty, staff and students was carried over the names of Chancellor Robert Barish, his management team and department chairs.

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