BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The closing of Baton Rouge General Hospital's emergency room has council members and first responders voicing their concerns.
Hospital officials announced they would be closing the hospital's emergency room due to financial losses related to treating uninsured patients. The Department of Health and Hospitals officially announced the ER will close its doors March 31st.
The DHH also said several hospitals in the area will expand their operation hours to fill the void left from the closing hospital.
First responders are too keen on the idea and are concerned with emergency response time. Brad Harris with East Baton Rouge Parish EMS said the loss of Baton Rouge General will have an impact on saving lives.
"It will take longer for our ambulances to clear the hospitals," said Harris. "So we are going to have to wait for an emergency bed to open up so we can drop off one patient before we can pick up another patient."
District 7 Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle, said she was sickened to hear the closing of the ER. She said the city needs to find a solution or this will be a never ending story.
"It's going to be a shift just like it was like EKL closed. So the shift came from EKL to Baton Rouge General," explained Marcelle. "They are going to see the same shift. They need to work out something where the city will be covered in case of Emergency Services," she continued.
In March, the clinic will operate seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.