Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fact-check: Sen. Jack Donahue at last night's meeting on Southeast Louisiana Hospital

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

The Committee to Save Southeast Louisiana Hospital held another meeting last night at the Mandeville Community Center. At the meeting, State Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, said he supports Rep. Jerome "Dee" Richard's call for a special legislative session on Gov. Jindal's recent cuts to health care. (C.B. Forgotston today reports that the proposal is coming closer to being approved.)

(See previous: The Closure of Southeast Louisiana Hospital)

One of the meeting attendees repeatedly questioned Donahue's history, asking whether he had, in the past, voted for the closure or privatization of state-run mental health facilities. Donahue said he hadn't.

Which brings us to SB 295, a bill sponsored by Donahue during the 2010 legislative session. Here's the summary:

HEALTH/HOSPITALS DEPT. Authorizes the Department of Health and Hospitals to contract for the operation of state inpatient mental health facilities and certain services provided at such facilities.

(More after the jump)

That bill came as a result of recommendation number 96 from the Commission on Streamlining Government, Chairman Sen. Jack Donahue.

The Department of Health and Hospitals establish a competitive procurement process for operation of inpatient mental health institutions and/or certain services provided at the institutions, and include in the solicitations a requirement for constructing new facilities without using any state debt.

Of course, Donahue said he never voted for privatizing mental health facilities. In the case of SB 295, that's true, because it never came to a vote. This is noted in a Nov. 2011 status report on the commission's recommendations.

Senate Bill No. 295 of the 2010 Regular Session, by Senator Donahue, was introduced to accomplish this recommendation. House Bill No. 979 of the 2010 Regular Session, by Representative Simon, would also have implemented this recommendation. Neither bill made it through the legislative process.

However, it goes on:

The Executive Budget for FY 2010-2011 contained provisions associated with this recommendation, and those provisions were carried forward in the General Appropriations Act, Act 11 of the 2010 Regular Session.

Donahue did vote for the budget bill that year. However, there were no provisions in that budget bill that privatized state mental hospitals. Instead, the state cut funding for inpatient beds and redirected money to community outpatient services.

Non-copyrighted truth-measurement-device score: 7

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