|Newsletter: A LIGHT IN THE TUNNEL|
|Monday, August 20 2012 - 11:24 am|
Over the last two weeks I have met with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals on three separate occasions, with other local public officials twice, and with the Governor’s Chief of Staff once about the impending closure of Southeast Hospital.
I have also filed a letter with the Attorney General and asked for a legal opinion as to whether the Administration has the authority to close this facility without the authorization of the Legislature. I have also asked the Attorney General for an opinion on whether the funds from the sale of surplus property around the hospital can be used for any other purpose other than to maintain the existing facility and equipment.
On Thursday, several local officials met with DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein at my office in Baton Rouge, and I am pleased to report that I think we are making some progress. The Secretary advised that he has authorized the closure of the Intermediate Care Beds (ICB) at SEH, which currently number 94 of the total 176 beds. The majority of the patients occupying those beds are not from the Northshore. The balance of the beds will, for the time being, not be shut down. Additionally, all of the outpatient programs currently functioning will be left in place.
A number of private providers have contacted DHH regarding operating the facility, and DHH leaders are preparing a formal course of action to entertain those interested parties.
I think the good news here is that we will have some time to deal with all the other services, losing only the Intermediate Care Beds in the short term. It has been rewarding to see the community rally around this cause, and I urge each of you to stay informed as we work to bring this situation to a successful conclusion.
I would like to thank Rep. Tim Burns, Rep. Scott Simon and Parish President Pat Brister for their continuing efforts and help in this endeavor.
Thank you for all your encouragement.