Governor Bobby Jindal issued the following statement today after four of Louisiana's charity hospitals finalized public-private partnership deals Sunday. The hospitals include the Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma, the Walter O. Moss Hospital in Lake Charles, University Medical Center in Lafayette and the Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans.
Five charity hospitals -- including the agreement that was finalized in April between LSU and Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge -- have now been transformed into public-private partnerships that strengthen safety net care for the people of Louisiana and improve graduate medical education for future doctors.
Governor Jindal said, "In Louisiana, we were faced with the unique challenge of adapting a public-run, statewide charity hospital system to the evolving health care needs of our people. While our one-of-a-kind charity hospital system did tremendous work for decades--successfully serving the people of Louisiana and meeting their health care needs--we recognized that we needed to change the way we operate.
"In order to continue meeting the needs of our people at a cost that was sustainable for taxpayers, we ambitiously sought to convert our charity hospitals to public-private partnerships that will care for our most vulnerable, improve the level of care that's offered and implement expanded services, all at an affordable cost. In fact, these agreements are expected to save taxpayers over $100 million on a yearly basis.
"These partnerships won't just strengthen our already strong safety net--they will make our hospitals and the services they offer better than they have ever been. We are creating a system with the infrastructure and resources needed to compete for outstanding medical students, to provide high quality care, to improve access for everyone in the region and to embark upon major research opportunities.
"The work we're doing will serve as a new model for how we can train more health professionals and treat our vulnerable residents with high quality care--all at a lower cost.
"Dr. Frank Opelka, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and the thousands of health care professionals across our state who truly make a difference in the lives of our citizens each and every day should be commended for the work they've done on these partnerships and the work they will continue to do serving our people."