With an investigation leading to the resignation of state health secretary Bruce Greenstein, law makers who fought to keep University Medical Center in Lafayette, open, are concerned.
Greenstein was the visionary for the public, private partnership deals.
It was Greenstein and the administration that laid out an ambitious timeline to get UMC under the control of Lafayette General by July 1st. To this day a deal has yet to be reached, and now with the federal government asking questions about the plan, it could take even longer.
“Having Greenstein to resign all of a sudden does slow things down,” says state rep. Stephen Ortego.
Ortego is concerned with the future and progress made with the public, private partnership between University Medical Center and Lafayette General after the recent resignation of health secretary, Bruce Greenstein.
Ortego explains, “he was the guy who was gonna be answering those questions, so there's a lot of stuff in the air. We'll see where it goes from here.”
In December of last year, Greenstein announced the deal between the state and LGMC that would keep important services and staff at UMC. Greenstein is leaving his post amid an investigation into awarding a state contract to a company he formerly served as executive of. Now the federal government is also asking questions about how the state plans to reimburse private hospitals who run charity hospitals owned by the state.
“If they don't approve, then we're gonna have to go back to the drawing board anyway. The budget is completely dependent on this almost a billion dollars,” says Ortego.
Ortego hopes this is only going to slow down the process, and not stop it. To avoid a scenario such as this in the future, he's proposing a bill this legislative session to create localized regional boards to tend to charity hospitals.
“Allows each region to be able to decide on where these dollars are coming in from, where they're going, and what's best for each hospital,” says Ortego.
DHH says they are still on track with the public, private deal in Lafayette, and those questions will be answered.
The feds will ultimately determine whether or not they will provide those supplemental funds, which are crucial to governor Bobby Jindal's plan to remove charity hospitals from the LSU system.