Uncertain Future for Inmate Care in Cenla - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Uncertain Future for Inmate Care in Cenla

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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The proposed closure of Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville may have far reaching consequences.

As an agreement is drafted for the future of Huey P. Long Medical Center some are asking the question - what happens to prisoners who also need care?

"When you're talking about a 9 parish area, you're talking about 9 sheriff's departments and inmate care was the responsibility of Huey P. Long. Many of those sheriff's in those communities had an agreement with the state to provide that service through Huey P. Long." Said State Representative Herbert Dixon.  

The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is one of many agencies that utilizes state-run Huey P. Long for medical care of inmates.

"Anything major we have to take them to the hospital, just like anyone else would go, and we will continue to do that and however they figure out how they're going to do this, that's how we'll have to handle it." Said Tommy Carnline.

Governor Bobby Jindal is looking to privatize Huey P. Long, handing responsibilities for the state-run medical center to Christus St. Francis Cabrini and Rapides Regional Medical Center. Leaving the cost of care for inmates up to those in uniform.

"It's no longer going to be in the state system, as far as the charity system and someone will have to pay, that's what we're working out now, we realize we got to pay and the state's going to pay some, it'll effect us." Said Deputy Chief William Robinson.

While the costs may shift, the sheriff's office says their standards for inmate care will not change.

"They will be treated, as for how we work out with the state and other people to pay for it, that's going to be up to us but I do want to assure to people that have loved ones in jail, that they will be treated and they will be taken care of." Said Robinson.

Christus St. Francis Cabrini and Rapides Regional say they plan to reach a full commitment from the State on a plan for Huey P. Long within 30 days.

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