SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - As the proposed $27 billion fiscal year budget narrowly passed the Louisiana house Thursday afternoon, the chancellor of LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport is voicing his frustrations over the drastic cuts they potentially face.
"It's going to be a very ugly situation if this budget passes through," said Dr. G.E. Ghali, chancellor of LSUHSC. "You're looking at a total catastrophic situation for health care at the state level."
As the proposed budget currently stands, Ghali said his operating budget of $300 million could be slashed 55 percent, which equates to $165 million dollars. State representative passed the House on a 55 - 47 vote.
"We're at a point now where we can't sustain any further cuts," said Ghali. "Anything we have to do means we're going to have to lose programs."
The budget now moves to the Senate for a debate and vote. If approved, 917 residents at both LSUHSC in Shreveport and New Orleans could be packing their bags and heading to programs out-of-state - all paid for by Louisiana.
Medical students would also be relocated to finish their education.
"We've got students to educate, residents to train, we've got patients to care of and there has to be a minimal standard," said Ghali. "When we have smart people in Louisiana that are going out of Louisiana to train, they are less likely to come back to Louisiana."
The proposed budget comes as the state already faces a serious shortage of doctors. LSU officials said 372 new primary care physicians are needed every year to keep up with retiring doctors.
Ghali's message for lawmakers in Baton Rouge is simple.
"End this session early and go into a special session where they can focus on creating an appropriate budget for what the citizens of Louisiana deserve," said Ghali.
Safety net hospitals would also be eliminated in the area.
According to LSU medical officials, 70 percent of licensed physicians in the state either partially or completed all of their training at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport or New Orleans.