Seven Baton Rouge Democratic legislators continued to decry the loss of Baton Rouge General Mid City’s emergency room on the eve of its Tuesday shutdown.
The Mid City ER closes at 7 a.m. Tuesday - a victim of what its operators said is growing red ink caused by an influx of uninsured patients.
In a joint statement, the legislators acknowledged efforts by the state and its private partner Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center to expand urgent care services at LSU Health Mid City and north Baton Rouge clinics.
But, they said, “we are not convinced that will be enough to protect the health, safety and welfare of tens of thousands of hard-working North Baton Rouge area residents.”
“Anyone who thinks that the closure of the Baton Rouge General Mid City emergency room will not have a ripple effect across not only East Baton Rouge but surrounding parishes as well is not grounded in reality,” according to a joint statement. “The effect of the closure will not only impact those who have depended on those services but anyone who is in need of emergency health care services in the region, regardless of their insurance status or geographical location. for many it may be a matter of life and death.”
“What is particularly discouraging is that there are alternatives,” the legislators said, as they promised to continue the fight to get needed health care to residents.
The alternatives the two senators and five representatives mentioned were:
- Expansion of Medicaid to provide health insurance coverage to many area residents and “ease the financial burden on health care providers and emergency rooms who now care for those uninsured.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes Medicaid expansion which would cover more than 200,000 Louisiana residents and a majority Republican Legislature has also refused to embrace it.
- Rethink the state’s partnership deal with the Lake so that other hospitals can receive dollars for care of the uninsured.
The Lake became home to LSU’s medical education programs and patient care with the closure of LSU Earl K. Long Medical Center in north Baton Rouge two years ago. The deal provided 100 percent Medicaid reimbursement for uninsured patients - the same as LSU had previously as it ran the public hospital.
- A direct appropriation to those hospitals that are impacted by the “changing health care landscape.”
Signing the joint statement were: Senate President Pro-tem Sharon Broome, Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, and Reps. Regina Barrow, Pat Smith, Ted James, Dalton Honoré and Alfred C. Williams.