Huey P. Long Cuts - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Huey P. Long Cuts

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PINEVILLE, La. -- LSU hospitals across Louisiana are feeling the heat from Baton Rouge.

After weeks of wondering, cuts in services have now been announced and here at home, they're feeling the burden.

News Channel Five's Brooke Buford went to Huey P. Long hospital in Pineville to learn more about the cuts and how you could be affected.

Pitkin resident, Rocky Johnson, is trying to find the silver lining in a long line of state cuts announced to LSU hospitals.

"I'm happy to hear that they are still open and they shouldn't have cut," he said.

Johnson takes his neighbor, Ms. Mary, to Huey P. Long hospital in Pineville for doctor's visits. It's a hospital they've both come to love.

"I've been coming here since 1990," said Mary McComick. "I just can't afford my bills, you know?"

On Monday, after weeks of wondering, it was announced that more than $325 million dollars in funding will be cut from LSU hospitals statewide, including here in Pineville.

"We've been monitoring it for a long time, particularly because we knew something was coming, we just didn't know when," said Rich Dupree, with the City of Pineville. "You go from the extreme of it possibly being closed, to hoping that it stays open but in what shape it will still be in." 

It turns out that "shape" will be in the form of a 35% reduction in the number of acute-care hospital beds at Huey P. Long.

"When you're talking about cutting that much money from nine institutions across Louisiana, you know the one here in pPineville is going to take some hits," said Dupree.

The cuts are coming because federal money that used to flow into the state Medicaid budget is being reduced.

"They're hurting the community and the people that need the help, that can't afford it because the way the world is right now," said Johnson.

It's a tough dose of medicine to swallow, but for these patients in Pineville, they're just glad that they'll still be able to get the care they need at the hospital they love, at least for now.

 

Here's a statement from the LSU system about the cuts:

"We take these matters very seriously. We have to make sure we maintain our obligation to our patients who have chronic conditions and those who are under our care so that we don't make any sudden changes that would adversely affect them. We are committed to making sure our patients have access to caregivers as close to home as possible and we're working very hard to find solutions that reflect this. We are as committed as ever to care of patients in northeast, Northwest and Central Louisiana."

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