Governor Bobby Jindal has proposed serious cuts to New Orleans’ public health infrastructure. If these cuts go through, we will lose much needed resources like hospital beds and certified medical providers.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 20 percent of American adults live with a mental illness (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10MH_Findings/). However, only 39 percent of these 45.9 million American adults received mental health services in 2010.
TODAY, it is already challenging for individuals living with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders to access necessary inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services, medical prescriptions, counseling and case management. It is not too late to stop the situation from becoming even worse. If we lose these resources, our city will become sicker, our prisoners working towards rehabilitation will enter back into our community without treatment, and our medical providers will become even more overworked and underpaid.
Let Governor Jindal know that it is not ok to cut $15 million from the Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans. If anything, we need additional resources exactly where these cuts are proposed.
Stop the $34 million cuts to the public hospital system
STOP the Jindal Administration from cutting $34 million from the LSU public hospital system. If the proposed cuts go through, uninsured Louisiana residents and those who rely on Medicaid will lose their only option to access public behavioral health services. The mental health community will be hit especially hard, as we lose $15 million from the Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans.
Mayor Landrieu is rightfully standing up against these proposed cuts. In his letter to Governor Bobby Jindal and LSU System President Dr. John Lombardi, Landrieu said he wanted to "express my serious concern" about the plan to "slash health care services in New Orleans." He said the cuts in beds for those needing "detoxification, crisis mental health and inpatient services ... will significantly and negatively impact the delivery of care to residents across the region."
These cuts will void New Orleans residents of the opportunity to get help. How can we expect people to live mentally stable and drug-free lives when there are no resources available to do so?
The Department of Health and Hospitals is working with our Mayor to stop these resources from leaving the city. LSU administrators and the Jindal Administration claim in a report by the Times Picayune that amidst these cuts, Metropolitan Human Services District is expanding their resources but this is not evident. DHH’s hope to save resources by closing and consolidating less effective programs is commendable, but it is not enough.
According to the Times Picayune, these devastating cuts include:
Eliminating the 20-bed chemical detox unit
Closing nine inpatient psychiatric beds on the DePaul Hospital campus, leaving 29 open
Closing 10 mental health beds in the emergency department, leaving 10 open
Closing four general emergency department beds, leaving 40
Closing 24 medical/surgical beds
Cutting additional personnel across all departments
Scaling back treatment for state prisoners
Cutting professional services contracts with Tulane physicians/professors
Act NOW. Sign this petition to let Governor Jindal and Dr. Lombardi know that Mayor Landrieu speaks for the residents of New Orleans and Louisiana when he says, "providing adequate care for mental health and substance abuse patients is a critical part of the solution [to fight crime]...These proposed cuts are devastating as we fight an epidemic of violence."