By law, the LSU hospitals and clinics are required to serve inmates housed in either state or local correctional facilities.
LSU’s outpatient surgery center off Perkins Road would become a “mini-hospital” providing prisoner and general population care when Earl K. Long Medical Center closes in north Baton Rouge, a Jindal administration official said Monday.
State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said the satellite surgical facility will be turned into a small hospital. This would allow LSU to continue operating its outpatient clinics that serve the Baton Rouge area.
Without a hospital affiliation, federal funds could not be generated to finance the LSU clinic operations.
Renovations are under way at the facility located at 9032 Perkins Road near its intersection with Bluebonnet Boulevard. LSU bought the old Vista Surgical Hospital in 2007.
Use of the Perkins Road facility solves two problems facing LSU with closure of EKL in late 2013 when inpatient care and medical education programs move to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center off Essen Lane in south Baton Rouge.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently rejected LSU’s plans to have its current EKL-affiliated clinics in the Baton Rouge area operated under LSU’s University Medical Center in Lafayette.
The clinics must have a relationship with the hospital receiving clinic patients, CMS officials ruled. The stance took DHH by surprise because federal officials had previously indicated the arrangement would pass muster, Greenstein said.
As part of budget cuts, the administration is downsizing EKL to a 10-bed facility, which is the minimum required to continue to get funding to operate the local clinics. When EKL closes, Greenstein said the plan is to make LSU’s Perkins Road facility the new 10-bed general population hospital plus five additional beds for prisoner care.
The Lake agreement doesn’t include a prisoner care provision currently provided at EKL.
LSU has been struggling to come up with a solution — most recently getting no proposals in response to a request for those interested in providing the prisoner care.
According to LSU statistics, an average of seven prisoners a day are treated at the EKL facility on Airline Highway. About 80 percent of inmates come from state prisons, juvenile and forensic facilities, according to LSU. The remaining patients are prisoners in parish jails in the Baton Rouge metro area.
By law, the LSU hospitals and clinics are required to serve inmates housed in either state or local correctional facilities. The state also appropriates funds for prisoner care.
The Perkins Road outpatient surgery center is licensed for 66 beds in semi-private rooms.
Renovations are being completed this month that include roofing, heating and air conditioning upgrades and non-leaking windows, LSU Health Care Services Division spokesman Marvin McGraw said. The cost is $1.2 million.
Bids on phase 2 renovation are going out now with an expected project cost of $940,000. Completion is expected in March or April, McGraw said.
When finished, the facility will have four operating suites, two endoscopy suites and imaging services but the inpatient capacity will be diminished, he said.
“With the renovations and other outpatient service related operational considerations, the facility will be able to accommodate 24 patients in private rooms,” McGraw said.