Shreveport residents, employees rally against LSU Health budget cuts

LSU Health employees and concerned citizens in Shreveport rallied Wednesday morning against the privatization of the hospital.

More than a dozen people gathered outside the hospital to voice their opposition to budget and salary cuts at the facility, including Caddo Parish Commissioner Ken Epperson, who says they are adamantly against the possibility of privatization. "Once you privatize a facility or outsource a facility, the basic motive is profit. Once profit is in place, there's the degradation of facility maintenance, there's employee layoffs, there's loss of wages and benefits and the quality of services certainly diminishes, because those institutions that purchased this facility under privatization, their main motive is profit."

Among those in the small crowd were nurses and people who say they've used the hospital and don't want to see services cut, along with Louisiana State Representative Barbara Norton (D) Shreveport.

This fiscal year the Shreveport hospital faced a $46-million deficit.

Recent cuts to Medicaid have impacted the LSU System budget, and the Department of Health and Hospitals has asked the public hospital system to find a new way to structure things to save money.

There have been rumors that there will be cuts here, even the possibility of selling the Shreveport hospital.  However, LSU Health Shreveport says no final decisions have been made.

While the systems hospitals in both Monroe and Pineville have already faced staff cuts, administrators say right now there is no plan for lay-offs or attrition at LSU Health Shreveport.

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