Physicians sue Louisiana over Hurricane Katrina reimbursement

Physicians who provided care to the uninsured during Hurricane Katrina gets shafted by the government:

The lawsuit, brought by 381 physicians at West Jefferson Medical Center, says the state failed to reimburse them for treating indigent patients since the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane closed the state-funded Charity Hospital in New Orleans.

“This is severely straining our area emergency rooms, and the lack of proper outpatient care is harming these patients,” said K. Barton Farris, medical director of the Jefferson Parish hospital’s laboratory.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals set aside about $120 million last year to care for indigent and uninsured patients statewide, but that money goes to hospitals and not to physicians’ private practices, Farris said.

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