The system could face the loss of $24.5 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, Charles Zewe, systems vice president of communication, said. He said the additional cuts would come if one-time money is kept out of the state’s final budget.
“We are only halfway through the legislative budget process,” he said. “(The budget) has gone through the House, and House members cut out all of the one-time money in the budget, leaving an approximate $268 million problem, which the Senate is now trying to decide what to do with.”
Zewe said the budget will likely not be finalized until next week. “Right now the Senate will decide if they uphold the budget, change it, put the one-time money back in it, or what they are going to do,” he said.
Once the budget has passed the Senate, it will go back to the House Conference Committee, where the final decision will be made. Zewe said that if the cut money is not restored, the scenario laid out by the LSU system “will have to be dealt with.”
A news release from the LSU system said the cuts could force Moss Regional to delay implementing an electronic radiology records system, postpone building maintenance and eliminate rheumatology services.
The hospital’s interim administrator, Jimmy Pottorff, was unavailable for comment.
In March, Moss Regional eliminated its pediatric and psychiatric services and laid off six employees to absorb cuts made in the current fiscal year.
“These are prospective cuts — cuts we thought necessary to warn statewide that could happen,” Zewe said. “It doesn’t mean it will happen, and we certainly hope that it doesn’t happen and some way is found to cover these cuts so health care doesn’t get hit again.”
He said the system is preparing for cuts to be on the “massive side, but hoping it’s on the very low side.”