BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration received the backing Wednesday of the state's human resources agency for the privatization of the LSU hospital in Bogalusa, which will cause the layoff of about 540 state workers.
The Civil Service Commission voted 6-1 to approve the deal, after hearing estimates from state health officials that the contract will save the state $10 million this year.
It was the final approval needed before oversight of LSU's Bogalusa Medical Center could be transferred March 17 to the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, which operates four private hospitals in Louisiana.
Lanette Buie, deputy CEO of the LSU Health Care Services Division, said all the Bogalusa hospital workers have been offered jobs with the private hospital manager. She said she expected 99 percent of them to be hired. However, they won't necessarily receive the same levels of pay and benefits they got from LSU.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has struck privatization deals for nine of LSU's 10 hospitals that cared for the poor and trained medical students, after the governor chose to levy most of a federal Medicaid financing cut on the public hospital system.
Seven outsourcing contracts have taken effect so far. The administration estimates the deals will save Louisiana more than $100 million this year.
No one spoke in opposition to the Bogalusa deal Wednesday.
Department of Health and Hospitals Undersecretary Jerry Phillips said privatizing hospital management will maintain medical education programs and health services, while also cutting state government costs.
The commission member who voted against the privatization plan was Pete Fremin, who serves as the state workers' appointee to the panel.