Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why the 12.8 Million Shortfall at LSUHSC-Shreveport?

Formerly an income generator to the tune of 30-100 million dollars a year, in just 2 years LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport (LSUHSC-S) has become an income loser.  In spite of this huge implosion of LSUHSC-S finances little explanation of it has appeared in the media. The Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform continues to receive complaints of mistreatment and incompetence suffered by both black and white patients in spite of the fear within the institution of administrative retaliation. These are reasons that come from our analysis of how this failure has occurred.   

Failure of oversight - In spite of being told numerous times about the physical   abuse of patients and incompetence at LSUHSC-S the relevant state legislators, Lydia Jackson, Roy Burrell, Patrick Williams and Barbara Norton have not done anything of substance.  They have been given the power by the people to force LSUHSC-S to put  patients  first.  One action they could taken is a hearing open to the public on LSUHSC- S. They have failed to exercise their power behind the scenes or otherwise in any effective manner.  
People are going elsewhere for care.  Years of patient abuse and incompetent care have caused many to vote with their feet and go to other hospitals for their medical needs.

Wide screen television sets that were given to all department heads. This appears to be a luxury that has little justification.

Failure to organize faculty billing for  clinical work and  supervision of trainees to maximize revenue to the institution.

Fraudulent billing- Found guilty by the FBI for lying and billing for faculty work that was never done LSUHSC-S paid a 700,000-dollar fine as well as a settlement to the whistleblowers who were fired by LSUHSC-S. Within the last 12 months another FBI investigation has occurred to investigate continued fraudulent behavior. The LSUHSC-S and the media have been silent about this recent investigation.
High salaries for faculty and administrators. A substantial number of these salaries are in the 400,000-700,000 dollar/year range. Benefits may also be an added cost.

Failure of clinical faculty to generate grant money. There is unlimited grant money available from the federal government and other sources. To qualify for this a medical center has to have faculty involved with research and innovative programs.  Too few clinical faculty at LSUHSC are involved in such intellectual activity. Few if any clinical faculty are involved in generating inventions that could be commercialized and bring revenue to the university.

Failure to develop exceptional clinical capabilities that would attract patients worldwide. The previous chancellor went to Texas to have a surgical procedure that should have been available at a medical center the size of  LSUHSC-S.

Expensive signs and advertisements on billboards - Attractive signs don’t mean very much to someone suffering because of lack of patient care resources. We were first told that this expenditure came from the Feist Weiller Foundation and next we were told that it came from the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation. Wherever it came from the problem is that the first priority should be the care of patients not signs or real estate deals.

Real estate deals – At least two expensive real estate purchases were made by the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation for the medical center. One was a vacant church. Again there is a lack of focus on remedying the inadequate care of patients, which is one of the reasons patients are going elsewhere. Given the restrictions on the use of Foundation monies we also question the propriety of using Foundation money for this purpose.

Compliant media- The Shreveport Times continues to publish feel good stories of exaggerated importance about LSUHSC-S. It has ignored the many negative issues and failures of competent care such as the delay in the arrival of the trauma team when an injured 9-year-old girl was brought to the emergency room or the failure of the ER to recognize that a woman’s abdominal pain was due to her pregnancy resulting in the critical condition of the baby. The Times has relinquished the traditional role of the press as the public’s watchdog. Perhaps there is a need for another newspaper that better serves the public. With a go along to get along press LSUHSC continues to be controlled by a cabal of self-promoting insiders and a culture of mediocrity and acceptance of near or actual criminal behavior.  Someone needs to expose this. The new administration has made its peace with the insiders instead of providing the radical reform that is desperately needed. It is obvious that a 12.8 million dollar deficit demands explanation. But none has appeared in the mainstream press. We can only ask -Why?

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