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Jefferson Parish hospitals hurting, study says

New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 9, 2008

Jefferson Parish's three largest hospitals are expected to lose a total of at least $50 million this year, due to post-Katrina problems that include skyrocketing labor costs, a surge in uninsured patients, and lagging Medicare reimbursements. The financial health of the three hospitals is so dire that the huge losses actually represent an improvement over 2005, when West Jefferson Medical Center, East Jefferson General Hospital, and Ochsner Medical Center lost a combined $150 million. Although the deficits have so far been covered by reserve funds, the hospitals can't afford to bleed cash much longer without cutting services, according to a new report by the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission.