Last Modified: Thursday, August 02, 2012 7:13 PM
The outpatient clinics at Moss Regional Medical Center will not see reductions in services, despite the hospital having to absorb more than $11 million in cuts, state Rep. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, said after meeting with several Louisiana State University officials on Wednesday.
Johns met with Dr. Fred Cerise, LSU’s vice president for health affairs; Roxane Townsend, head of the LSU Health Care Services Division; and Dr. William Jenkins, LSU’s interim university president, to discuss how the cuts would affect the hospital. He said he was pleased to hear that outpatient services at Moss Regional would not be affected.
“That’s really the primary function of Moss Regional, is all of those (outpatient) services,” Johns said. “Our greatest fear was that they were going to cut that.”
Johns said the hospital’s outpatient clinics see about 120,000 day visits per year, and about 35 percent of those patients are covered by Medicaid.
He said the hospital will not see any cuts to outpatient or inpatient surgeries.
The hospital will absorb the immediate cuts by reducing its number of inpatient beds from about 15 or 16 to 10, Johns said. He said this cut should not have a significant impact on the hospital because, on average, it fills 11 inpatient beds each night.
Johns said there will be “some minimal staff reductions,” but he is unsure about how many positions will be cut.
He said there will be some open positions that will not be filled and a few existing jobs will be eliminated.
“You’re not going to see massive layoffs at Moss Regional,” Johns said. “I feel confident in saying it will be very minimal.”
The hospital will also make purchasing changes as a way to help absorb the cuts, including in its dietary program. Johns said
these services will not affect patients.
“We’re not sure what the state budget will look like next year or the amount of federal funding we will get,” he said. “All of those local hospitals are in talks and negotiations and very willing to have dialogue with the state in terms of contracting directly with the state on a long-term fix,” Johns said.
For the last several months, state lawmakers have met with the state Department of Health and Hospitals, LSU Health Services and local hospitals over the possibility of having public and private hospitals provide services to take the budgetary pressure off of Moss Regional. He said some local hospitals can get federal funds that state hospitals can’t.
Johns said he and other Southwest Louisiana lawmakers are dedicated to working on making sure patients receive adequate care at Moss Regional.
“We’re very committed to make sure not one person who needs health care is going to go unattended,” he said.