A new bill, well on its way to becoming a law in Louisiana, would ban freestanding emergency departments throughout the state.  Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Mills (R) introduced the bill that received a 36-1 vote in the Louisiana Senate yesterday.  Now, the measure will be considered in the House of Representatives before it faces a final vote.

According to the Daily Comet, the bill was crafted with small town hospitals in mind.  Lawmakers who support the measure claim that because the freestanding Emergency rooms focus on the most profitable procedures and services.  This leaves only the least cost-effective options open for small town hospitals, which is driving down their profit margins.  Small town hospitals across the country are shutting down because of this phenomenon.  If the new bill becomes a law, it would effectively outlaw any freestanding emergency department in Louisiana that is not part of a hospital system.