Letter: Death of system unexplained

Re: “Chief medical officer to resign:”

The Advocate reported that Dr. Michael Kaiser will step down from his $350,000-a-year job as chief of the LSU Health Care Services Division effective Aug. 30. In that role, Kaiser presided over the layoff of thousands of state employees who worked at LSU hospitals in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Lake Charles. Bogalusa hospital employee layoffs are next.

“It is true that it has been hard to watch the dismantling of programs that are working, that are important for our patients, and that could be national models,” Kaiser wrote.

Dr. Kaiser seems to shrug responsibility for the “dismantling of programs that are working, that are important for our patients, and that could be national models” (his words). He claims to have “watched,” as if he was only a witness. I suppose he’ll sleep better in California if he can convince himself and his friends that he was only a witness and not a participant in the demise of our state hospital system.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has argued that it is no longer financially viable for the state to continue to operate the hospitals. He said turning over management and operation of LSU hospitals will allow expansion of services available to the state’s poor and uninsured while improving medical education opportunities.

As of today, Gov. Jindal and Dr. Kaiser have never been forthcoming with documents supporting the notion that the state would benefit financially, medically, educationally or in any other way by privatizing Louisiana state hospitals. The people of Louisiana, particularly the thousands of laid-off state employees, deserve an explanation of how our state benefits in the death of “a system that could be a national model.” It’s clear we’ll never get it.

RENÉ TORREGROSSA

retired EKL medical technologist

Baton Rouge