House agrees to turn hospital into outpatient clinic

The Louisiana Legislature has agreed to close the inpatient beds and emergency room at LSU’s hospital in Lake Charles, turning it into an outpatient clinic as part of a planned privatization deal.

The House gave final passage Tuesday to Senate Concurrent Resolution 98 in a 65-27 vote.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration intends to shift those inpatient and emergency services from W.O. Moss Regional Medical Center to a nearby community hospital, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, which will build a new, $5 million outpatient clinic at the Moss site.

State Rep. A.B. Franklin, D-Lake Charles, opposed the legislation. He said the privatization contract contains too many gaps to agree to close some operations at Moss Regional.

“We still don’t know how much this is going to cost. We still have a lot of unanswered questions with the contract,” Franklin said.

State Rep. Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur, said the negotiations have been going on for months and would offer improved health care in the area.

The LSU Board of Supervisors has approved a 30-year contract for the privatization deal. Management turns over June 24.