Department of Health

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Louisiana's Department of Health reports the first nine human cases of this year's West Nile virus season, including five dangerous infections of the brain and spinal cord.

Those five cases include two in Washington Parish and one each in East Baton Rouge, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes.

Two cases of flu-like West Nile fever were reported; one each in East Baton Rouge and Washington parishes.

Blood donations turned up two people who contracted the virus without symptoms — one each in Caddo and Washington parishes.

A proposal to ban the creation of most new freestanding emergency rooms in Louisiana has won support from state senators, amid concerns the ERs threaten the survival of the state's fragile rural hospitals.

Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Mills, the Republican who sponsored the proposal , said stand-alone emergency departments cherry-pick services that generate the most money from patients and drain dollars from rural hospitals that already operate on narrow margins.

CLAYTON, La. (AP) — A Louisiana mayor says the town stopped paying its water system contractor because it can't afford the bills.

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a water emergency Friday in the Concordia Parish town of Clayton after learning that the contractor had quit running the system because it hadn't been paid.

The final act of this year’s special session trilogy is less than a week away, with the administration and many legislators scrambling to find some extra cash for programs like TOPS, which is facing a 30 percent cut. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says the Department of Health is one place the state should look if it wants to plug the budget gaps.

 

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If the legislature decides to cut its way through the billion dollar budget gap, private health care providers warn the consequences would be dire. If the Department of Health sustains the kinds of cuts being discussed, public-private facilities would be on the chopping block. Our Lady of the Lake President Scott Wester says those cuts would mean the end of their partnership with the state, LSU, and LDH.

 

Wester says, "A zero budget for the public-private partnership, specifically in Baton Rouge, really causes a termination in our agreement."