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Louisiana to ban freestanding ERs to protect rural hospitals

State Legislature
Emergency Room sign_1559824412517.JPG-3156058.jpg

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to prohibit the creation of most new freestanding emergency rooms, a protectionist effort for the state’s fragile rural hospitals.

Senator Fred Mills, a St. Martin Parish Republican, says stand-alone emergency departments drain profitable services from rural hospitals that operate on narrow margins.

A 33-1 Senate vote and 92-0 House vote gave final passage to the measure, sending it to the governor Wednesday.

Mills’ proposal will prohibit creation of freestanding emergency departments in Louisiana that are not licensed as part of a hospital’s main campus or as a hospital’s off-site campus. In addition, no hospitals will be able to create an off-site ER within the primary service area of a rural hospital.

Freestanding emergency rooms permitted by April 1 won’t be affected.

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Senate Bill 36: www.legis.la.gov

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