Rally to urge Lallie Kemp support

As state officials continue to look for ways to reduce the blow of funding cuts projected for Lallie Kemp and as concerned residents rally at the state Capitol today, State Rep. Chris Broadwater says some money to lessen the hit may have already been found.

Calling the news encouraging, Broadwater said he received initial word Tuesday that LSU identified $1 million to mitigate some of the $13.9 million in cuts. Chief Financial Officer for Lallie Kemp Chad Thompson said the money had not yet been confirmed. Thompson said he hopes to hear confirmation by the end of the week.

The money would go toward the Family Practice Residency Program. It would, Thompson said, be available for federal match dollars and could bring the total to around $4 million.

The money would also enable the Independence hospital to keep two ICU beds so the hospital’s intensive care unit wouldn’t be eliminated completely. The beds would enable the students in the residency program to train.

Michael Otkins, a Tickfaw resident, was born in the Independence hospital 43 years ago. He’s obtained a permit to rally for the hospital at the Capitol today. “We have about two bus loads from the Hammond area and other concerned citizens that are going to meet us,” Otkins said. “We will depart at 8:30 from Albertsons. We will be on the steps at 10 a.m. I think our community needs to speak out and not just allow these cuts. They’re probably going to wind up closing it down and it will become a clinic and not address the needs of the people.”

Broadwater said rumors were circulating of the closure, but clarified “that is not the case.”

Read more at HammondStar.com