Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles. (American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 7:09 PM
Utilizing the Calcasieu Parish Health Unit may be one of several options to offset some of the $11 million in cuts to W.O. Moss Regional Medical Center, House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said Thursday.
“I think we have a fantastic facility there,” he said. “There’s just a lot of opportunities, and we would like to look at them.”
Kleckley addressed the issue during the 58th annual Organization of Parish Administrative Officials Conference at L’Auberge Casino Resort. He said the Medicaid cuts hit Moss Regional, a state-run hospital, hard.
State lawmakers have met with LSU officials on how the hospital will absorb immediate and long-term cuts while maintaining services for its patients. Kleckley said outpatient services should not be affected over the short term — which was the “number one goal.”
Another way to handle immediate funding cuts includes cutting inpatient beds from about 16 to 10. The hospital fills an average of 11 inpatient beds a night.
Over the long term, Kleckley said lawmakers will have to look “outside the box,” including working with other local hospitals to provide inpatient services.
“What we as a delegation are looking at is to make sure, at the very least, that health care is still delivered to our citizens,” he said. “But we may have the opportunity to deliver it better (and) more efficient.”
Kleckley also spoke about the how the Legislature dealt with budget challenges during this year’s session.
He said a commission headed by Senate Finance Chairman Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, will review the state’s tax exemptions to find out which ones are the most effective.
“We want to find the (exemptions) that are not doing what they should do,” Kleckley said. “If we do ... cap or suspend or eliminate those exemptions, that is going to be an additional cost to that business. That business is going to pass that on to the consumer. So we have to be very careful in how we handle these exemptions.”
The conference continues through today.