NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 15, 2006

Louisiana hospitals are in a state of crisis and have little space for emergency department patients and the critically ill, according to the Louisiana Hospital Association.

LHA Vice President Paul Salles says that although hospitals have the physical resources to treat patients, the facilities lack the staff to operate.


  • Some 38 percent of New Orleans-area residents do not have health insurance.
  • In the three months after Hurricane Katrina, state hospitals provided $40 million in uncompensated care for evacuees, according to the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

Salles says patients with a variety of conditions, including mental or behavioral health conditions, continue to seek care in hospital emergency departments. Hospitals' major concerns include ensuring Medicaid funding and finding a way to pay for care provided to the uninsured, he added.

Although hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding have been earmarked for Louisiana and health care providers, the hospitals have not yet received the money, says Salles.

Moreover, he explains, there were only 12 critical care beds available in the entire state during the weekend of Mardi Gras. "Not a lot of people on the ground know how close we were to sending people out of state because we didn't have the capacity in hospitals anywhere in the state, not just New Orleans, anywhere in the state to take care of people."

Source: Ted Griggs, "La. hospitals have reached crisis, official tells group," Baton Rouge Advocate, March 10, 2006.

For text:


Browse more articles on Health Issues