Funding fairness bill for Shreveport's safety net hospital moves to full house

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A fight for fairness is how a bill is being described that would fund the so-called 'safety net' hospital in Shreveport at the same level as the one in New Orleans. Right now, many argue that funding difference is simply not right.

Glover explained that the funding problem is really quite simple and quite unfair saying that for every dollar spent on the safety net hospital in New Orleans University Medical System in Shreveport only receives 32 cents.

University Medical Center in New Orleans receives as much as $136 million more than its counterpart in Shreveport, according to State Representative Cedric Glover of Shreveport.

But House Bill 885, also known as the "Safety Net Hospital Preservation Act" could change that funding formula, helping low-income and uninsured residents here in Northwest Louisiana with fair funding.

"Numbers indicate that the Shreveport operation actually appears to treat a substantial higher number of patients than the operations in New Orleans," explained Glover.

HB 885 would first ask the Legislative Auditor to find out if current funding is unfair and if so to change the funding formula.

But Glover acknowledged that trying to shift state money from New Orleans to Shreveport will be an uphill battle.

"The truth of the matter is if you're already in a cat bird seat and someone tells you that it's time to come down, then your inclination to do so may not be so great. So, we're going to go present the facts as we know them."

Glover said the apparent difference in funding extends to the LSU medical schools in Shreveport and New Orleans.

Both rely on the hospitals for revenue through physician services. So Glover's bill could also shift this funding formula, as well.

On this Tuesday afternoon, May 1, House Bill 885 made it out of the Louisiana House Appropriations Committee by the narrowest of margins with a vote of 9-to-8.

It now heads to the full house. If approved next by the senate the bill would be sent to the governor's desk to be signed into law and take effect in the next fiscal year.

Copyright 2018 KSLA. All rights reserved.