After a months-long review, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration gave its backing Wednesday to a 424-bed, $1.2 billion academic teaching hospital in downtown New Orleans designed to treat a majority of the region’s uninsured patients and serve as the hub of a revamped medical corridor.
The proposed size, which comprises 364 acute-care beds and 60 psychiatric beds, is smaller than the 484-bed configuration suggested last year in a state-commissioned business plan. But the administration’s support helps clear up months of uncertainty about a project that is expected to anchor the state’s post-Katrina public health care system and train the next generation of medical professionals.
While Jindal has consistently said he supports a new hospital for New Orleans, his administration has challenged the size and cost of the project as excessive and asked Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine to review the 2007 business plan commissioned by former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s administration.
According to the review, the hospital would be built in a way that it could be expanded if market conditions warrant. But the review also predicted that the new hospital will not turn a profit, as originally envisioned, and instead will require indefinite taxpayer subsidies. Those subsidies will be considerably larger if the state doesn’t build a hospital that can attract private-pay patients.
Three years later and they are still talking about this—do you see anything wrong with that picture?