LAKE CHARLES, La.
— A private operator has agreed to run the Louisiana State University hospital in Lake Charles that cares for the uninsured, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration announced. The agreement is part of the administration’s efforts to move away from a university-run public hospital system. The Department of Health & Hospitals said management of LSU’s Moss Regional Medical Center will be turned over to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, Sulpher, La. The arrangement, according to DHH, is similar to privatization plans for the operations of LSU’s hospitals in Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette and New Orleans. DHH and LSU officials didn’t provide a copy of the agreement that has been signed with the private hospitals. DHH said Lake Charles Memorial Hospital will make lease payments to the state. The money will be used to draw down federal dollars to pay for services. West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital will then sublease part of the property from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. The health department said the privatization plans will shrink state costs, while maintaining health services and graduate medical education programs. The Jindal administration also is seeking private managers for the university system’s other hospitals. Jindal stripped more than $300 million in state and federal funding for the LSU health system after Louisiana’s Medicaid financing was reduced by Congress. Thousands of workers at the LSU health facilities will face layoffs under the plans and will have to reapply for their jobs with the private hospital operators. LSU board members have said they hope to move the university system out of the hospital business and return the focus to education.