Aid package would prevent Chabert layoffs

Leonard J. Chabert Regional Medical Center

Massive layoffs at the Leonard J. Chabert Regional Medical Center will be avoided if Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes approve a multimillion-dollar assistance plan.

Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet is seeking to transfer $2 million to the state-run charity hospital in Houma while Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph is supporting a $1 million contribution.

The parishes’ aid must be approved in December to avoid the Jan. 1 layoffs and other reductions.

In September, the LSU board governing the hospital announced it would need to slash more than $14.3 million from Chabert’s budget, eliminating 245 jobs or about a quarter of its staff.

Those cuts involve closures of beds and specialized health care clinics, and possible elimination and loss of accreditation for Chabert’s important graduate medical program, which fields the load of 75 percent of the patient care in the hospital.

“With the money coming in now, all the layoffs and the service cuts will be held off,” Chabert CEO Rhonda Green said.

The cuts are part of a plan that removes $152 million from the state’s university-run charity hospital system.