Bill to move LSU hospitals fails

Show caption
/

A legislative proposal to move LSU’s public hospitals under regionally-based, state-created human service districts died in a state House committee Wednesday.

The House Health and Welfare Committee rejected House Bill 284 with five members voted for the measure and nine voting against it.

The panel then involuntarily deferred the bill.

State Rep. Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro, said the governance structure he proposed would allow for coordination of mental and physical health issues. Human services districts located across the state coordinate mental health and substance abuse programs.

“This bill also empowers local people to be able to control their own destiny,” said Ortego.

He said the change would only “complement” the cooperative endeavor agreements the Jindal administration is developing for private sector partners to take over operations of the LSU hospitals.

Ortego said local communities could also provide other sources of funding that could be used to draw down more federal funds.

Some committee members said they were concerned about the impact of the arrangement on hospital service districts already in existence in their areas.

Ann Cassidy with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office filed a card in opposition to the measure. She did not testify.