NEW ORLEANS (Legal Newsline) -- Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell, in an opinion last week, said the state legislature does not need to approve the privatization of Louisiana State University's public hospitals.
"It is the opinion of this office that legislative approval is not required in order for the LSU Board of Supervisors to lease an entire hospital facility under its management and control," Assistant Attorney General Jessica Thornhill wrote for Caldwell Thursday.
However, it must provide the same level of care, the attorney general noted.
"It is the further opinion of this office that any such hospital lease must include a provision that assures that the leased facilities continue to provide the same level of health care services at these hospitals as required by current law, as well as provide assurance that any such lease agreement must be executed in accordance with the law regarding the operation and management of these public hospital facilities," the five-page opinion states.
State Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans, asked Caldwell for his opinion after Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, announced his administration was entering into agreements with private companies to run the LSU hospitals.
The agreements were sought to help balance Jindal's budget for next year.
Caldwell's opinion also noted that any "proposed cooperative endeavor agreement to be executed in connection with the lease" may be subject to a state law that requires any agreement be presented to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which may conduct a hearing on the agreement.
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