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Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson issued the following statement in reaction to the removal of Dr. Fred Cerise as the head of the LSU HSC Hospital Division.

KCP-Head-wNameTitle“Governor Jindal’s dismissal of Dr. Fred Cerise as head of the LSU HSC Hospital network is proof positive that the Legislature must intervene in Louisiana’s accelerating health care crisis precipitated by the Medicaid clawback engineered by Congressional Republicans and Senator David Vitter.

“Dr. Cerise is the most knowledgeable person in our state about delivering care to the poor and the uninsured which, unfortunately, comprise a large portion of our state’s population.

“His dismissal by the Governor’s hand-picked LSU Board of Supervisors and their interim President is proof that Jindal and his allies are on an ideologically fueled mission. Clearly, they want to dismantle the state’s public health delivery infrastructure before the Affordable Care Act can provide LSU Hospitals as well as community hospitals across our state the path to long-term sustainability.

“The Governor has shut Legislators out of the process of making the cuts at LSU HSC and at other institutions like Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville. He has kept members of his own party in the dark while conducting ongoing conversations with out-of-state consultants like Alan Levine. He has put the interests of those private concerns ahead of the well-being of Louisiana citizens dependent upon the services delivered through LSU HSC and through the state’s network of behavioral health hospitals and clinics.

“I visited St. Tammany Parish a week ago and met with people who know Southeast Louisiana Hospital (SELH) and the essential role it plays in providing behavioral health services not only in that region but in this state. The closing of that facility will impact not only patients, but their families, more than 560 employees, plus the patients and clients of programs operated by partners and stakeholders in the SELH campus.

“The dismissal of Dr. Cerise confirms that the Governor will not be deterred from his reckless course by reason. It is time for the Legislature to assert its authority as a co-equal branch of government in this state. I call on my colleagues in the Senate and the House to call themselves into special session and to move immediately to end the largest tax exemptions in this state so that we can protect these essential services.

“This not about right and left. This is about right and wrong. The Governor and his policies might serve him well with his national benefactors but they are wrong for this state and wrong for our people.

“We cannot stand idly by and let this carnage continue.”

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Originally published: Aug 25, 2012