Louisiana's health department is acknowledging that planned cuts in the state's Medicaid program will eliminate hospice care for all Medicaid recipients beginning in February.
Hospice care aims to make dying people more comfortable in their final months of life. In announcing reductions to hospice care funding last week, officials with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration said hospice care at nursing homes would not be eliminated.
The new chief of the LSU health care system says he's hoping to detail plans for new and reworked cuts across the public hospitals to the university's governing board next week.
Frank Opelka, LSU's executive vice president for health care and medical education redesign, is reviewing the cut decisions made by his predecessor, who was ousted from the job.
The university-run health network is bracing for continued budget cuts. The Jindal administration has stripped a quarter of the health system's funding in response to a drop in federal Medicaid financing.
The retiring president of the University of Louisiana System says higher education's ongoing budget woes will make it harder to attract his replacement and were one of the reasons he decided to leave the job.
Randy Moffett's last day was Friday after four decades in higher education. He says the cuts complicated efforts of the state's largest university system to maintain a focus on increased performance.
Despite the problematic financial picture, Moffett says he's optimistic the UL System will attract a quality leader looking for a challenge.
The University of New Orleans is cutting $12 million from its budget through a combination of early retirements and the elimination of vacant positions to offset reductions by the state.
UNO said Tuesday that about 25 faculty members and 28 staff members will be offered "incentivized retirements," and the university will eliminate 30 vacant faculty positions, five terminal faculty contracts, 26 graduate assistants and 16 non-classified staff.
UNO President Peter Fos says the moves will save the university $3.3 million.
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is asking for an attorney general's opinion about whether Gov. Bobby Jindal can close a state-run mental health facility in St. Tammany Parish without legislative approval.
Sen. Jack Donahue, a Republican from Mandeville, says closing Southeast Louisiana Hospital in a parish that has one of the state's highest suicide rates is unwise. He's pushing to keep the facility open.
Louisiana's health agency must save $56 million on drugs for Medicaid patients to help balance the state budget, but doesn't yet have a final plan for doing that.
A top aide to health Secretary Bruce Greenstein say the changes will take effect Oct. 1, and emergency rules will be published in September.
Legislators, pharmacy interests and others tell The Advocate they are concerned about the lack of transparency and what they call a rush to make changes that need caution to avoid damaging health care. Consumer groups worry about restricted drug access.