The LSU System's top health care leader has been ousted from his role overseeing the university's network of public hospitals and clinics.
Fred Cerise had clashed with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration over budget cuts that stripped hundreds of millions of dollars from the LSU safety net health care system.
Cerise's replacement was announced Friday by LSU with no explanation. But in an e-mail to The Associated Press, Cerise said he was notified a day earlier by LSU System President William Jenkins that, "I will no longer lead the LSU Health System."
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.
Gov. Bobby Jindal says he's confident LSU's network of public hospitals and clinics will protect health care services, despite cuts that strip a quarter of the system's funding.
Lawmakers have said they don't understand how the university-run health care system can shrink its budget by $329 million this year without shutting facilities that take care of the poor and uninsured.
But Jindal on Tuesday told reporters that "LSU is well on their way to presenting a plan that's going to protect critical services."
Almost 60 years since it opened, the Southeast Louisiana Hospital — a psychiatric facility that gained national notoriety in 1959 when then-Gov. Earl Long was briefly committed there — is preparing to close down its daily operations.
The Times-Picayune reports that the hospital's closing is part of an $859 million cut to the state's federal Medicaid program.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals hopes to send all 176 beds occupied at the hospital to other public and private hospitals in the state.