Looks like LSU might not get the money needed to build their shiny new hospital after all – they should have refurbished the existing building by now instead of gambling on the pipe-dream of FEMA paying for a new building
The 10pm news with Dr. Randolph Green admitting to holding back on information concerning the new hospital.
NEW ORLEANS – Supporters of a new LSU Medical Center have remained tight-lipped about their plans for the project and why it is needed for New Orleans, until now. Some worry the prolonged silence, coupled with strong, vocal opposition could harm their efforts to build brand new. “Yes, we have been silent, but I’m tired of it. I’ve decided I’m going to speak out,” said Dr. Randolph Green, chairman of the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation.
Green is also a staunch supporter of an all new, LSU Academic Medical Center, and worries if supporters of the project continue their silence, a potential $1.2 billion dollar economic engine for New Orleans and the state could be lost for good.
He blames political agendas, preservationists and other detractors who he says have spread false information about a project he says would only bring more jobs, more money – and greater improvements to a city still reeling from Katrina. “The fact is that these are blighted areas of our community that will remain blighted unless we seize the opportunity to change it and the neighborhood into something very special,” Green said.
As part of LSU’s now open approach, Dr. John Lombardi, LSU system president, came to New Orleans Wednesday night to explain why a new medical center is essential, and how they can make it happen where all universities here would be supported, and so the state isn’t forced to fit the entire bill. “We figured out through LSU a mechanism to have a private not-for-profit corporation affiliated with LSU capable of getting bonds, building a medical center. We are in the process of accomplishing that. It is the same mechanism we used to build Tiger Stadium so we know it works,” said Lombardi.
The key is getting the backing of all, but some residents who support restoring Charity Hospital are still hesitant, and point to the latest action in Baton Rouge, as a small success in their direction. “House Bill 780 has the opportunity to say look, show us the financing, the reality, and don’t do anything until it is in place,” said Brad Ott, who heads a committee to restore Charity Hospital.
“There have been residents who say we support a hospital, and we are glad to move if given a fair price and it is not going to be a wasted move,” he said. Green worries such action in the midst of a fight with FEMA over federal dollars – and in looking toward Washington for support – puts the project in further limbo.
“Every time we have detractors, people throwing shots at us left and right about this project, about LSU trying to create a medical complex empire, they (in Washington) are watching and realize if we can’t get our act together, that money is out the window,” said Green.
As for the ongoing feud with FEMA on the $492 million, Dr. Lombardi said they are suing FEMA and pursuing all administrative and legal avenues to get those funds, critical to a new LSU Medical Center.
Exactly WHY would these “movers and shakers” feel the need to be so tight lipped? If public funds are being used to build this albatross, then their silence should be overturned. There is the reason why John Kennedy and House Representative Ricky Nowlin from Natchitoches are placing this entire process under a microscope
According to this article from the TP, the state is almost ready to acquire the land in lower Mid-City to build the new hospital.
…state authorities say they are within weeks of securing much of the necessary land, with no intentions of altering course as House Bill 780 by Rep. Rick Nowlin, R-Natchitoches, moves through the Legislature.”I have no plans to stop what I’m doing,” said Pam Perkins, general counsel for the Division of Administration. Perkins is leading the team conducting title searches, appraisals, negotiations with property owners and, where needed, expropriation of 70 acres for the state teaching hospital and adjacent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital.