Medicaid Hospice Cuts - KLFY News 10

Medicaid Hospice Cuts

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Statewide budget cuts are threatening a large portion of the healthcare system and that rings true here in Acadiana. Weeks ago, Governor Bobby Jindal announced nearly $166 million in cuts, impacting the Medicaid and Hospice programs.

Sweeping budget cuts to the healthcare system will impact thousands of patients who rely on special care during their final days.

Hospice of Acadiana is a non-profit that provides Medicare and Medicaid patients everything from counseling, to medical equipment, to medication, and nursing care.

"It's complicated," said Louis "Buzzy" Hebert, the CEO of Hospice of Acadiana. "We not only deal with a patient, but the family to help with the transition because it can be very traumatic."

Hebert says it costs nearly $136 a day to care for a Hospice patient. For-profit Hospices across the state will feel the brunt of the cuts, but it may burden Acadiana's program. Congressman Dr. Charles Boustany knows first-hand the impact of Hospice.

"My father relied on hospice care in his final days and it was a god send and so many families that have sick loved ones rely on this in their final days," said Boustany.

Boustany says he plans to work with state lawmakers to come up with a plan to avoid the cuts.

"We need to be smart about what we do with healthcare and not just indiscriminately cut these programs that will hurt people," said Boustany. 

And having more discussion on the widespread impacts is exactly what Hebert hopes will take place before the February 1st deadline.

"Right now, we're hoping the Jindal administration reassesses and maybe holds back on cuts until further discussion is done," said Hebert.

Hospice of Acadiana is a non-profit and says they are in need of donations and volunteers. You can visit their website at www.hospiceofacadiana.com to learn how you can help.

-Caroline Balchunas

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