Plans Plans Plans.... “LSU Needs Some Time To Develop A Plan".‏

The title quote is taken from an article in The Advocate - July 24, 2012.

Regarding a Joint Legislative Committee hearing on the Budget, it was reported in The Advocate that Bruce Greenstein [State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary] said:
“LSU needs some time to develop a plan. I ask that you wait for a plan before you start asking questions like that,”.  He was addressing concerns by State Sen. Ronnie Johns' [R-Sulphur] that LSU has not produced modernization plans to mitigate the recent State and Federal medicaid cuts that will leave many without healthcare and will drive uninsured patients to seek emergency care at private hospitals.

In another quote from the same article, Paul Rainwater [Commissioner of Administration, the chief financial advisor to the Governor and chief administrative officer for the state] said: 
“We are going to continue what we are doing,” Rainwater replied. “We believe what we have done is put together a prudent plan.”

Here's another quote regarding statements made by Robert "Bobby" Yarborough - [Chairman of the University Medical Center Management Corporation Board - UMCMC] -  from a joint meeting of the House’s Appropriations and Health and Welfare committees addressing the same cuts.  The quote is taken from a Times Picayune Editorial - July 22, 2012: 
"Legislators could find themselves waiting a while for an answer.
Yarborough said it was likely the board would not have a plan to present until the end of August."

"Until the end of August" - no doubt.  The lack of plans is perhaps the reason behind the UMCMC Board cancelling their monthly public board meeting two months in a row.  [The notice of cancellation for the July UMC Board meeting went out on June 26].

So, according to Paul Rainwater the State has a Plan; but the Chairmam of the UMCMC Board says they are working on it; and the health secretary says LSU needs to develop a plan.
Uh oh.

All the parties mentioned have a dismal record on delivering plans.

Take the UMCMC Board for instance.  Readers of will recall that the UMCMC board - that is responsible for administering the new UMC hospital - despite orders from the Governor last fall to deliver a business plan before approval for construction could be granted by the joint budget committee, has failed to come up with the strategic part of the business outline on how to fund and operate the new Hospital. Yet approval of construction was granted anyway. 

Members of the Joint Budget Committee should be kicking themselves right now for not insisting on a strategic plan demonstrating how the successor hospital for Big Charity would cash flow without medicaid funding.  Finacial advisors had advised the UMCMC Board, under risk factors to be considered [Pages 36 and 37] - in what is known as their "business plan" - that this might be an option they would have to consider.

State Treasurer John Kennedy warned legislators at that fall meeting about the unsustainable costs of building such a large replacement hospital for Charity.  At that meeting he offered an alternative plan.
What! You mean someone had an actual plan to turn what our readers know as the Taj-Ma-Hospital into Taj-Ma-Possible?  The answer is yes and, once again, Treasurer Kennedy offers a 14 point fix to the medicaid crisis that includes:

6. Reduce the size of the new $1.1 billion Charity Hospital currently being built in New Orleans. According to its own business plan, the hospital, at 424 beds, won't cash flow now that we are reducing the size of the Medicaid program and the Governor has decided not to participate in the Medicaid portion of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). If we overbuild in New Orleans, there will not be enough money left to deliver health care to the poor and uninsured in the rest of the state.

Sounds like a much better idea than closing the teaching hospital.  The idea has been floated, yet the pilings continue to be pounded into the ground in the area of lower MidCity which, until late last year, was an historic neighborhood.

It was stated in the Times Picayune article referenced above:
During questioning by Rep. Edward James, D-Baton Rouge, LSU Board of Supervisors Chairman-elect Robert Yarborough said that while closures were not the board’s first choice for dealing with the cuts, they remain a possibility. “We’re looking at all options and it depends on how successful the other options are,” Yarborough said. “It’s an option if some of the other options don’t work out like we hope them to.”

Lower Mid-City was demolished by LSU, State leaders and a fully compliant City Council under eminent domain laws that allow such destruction ONLY for uses that benefit the public.  Can the UMCMC close the public hospital and rid itself of the Charity system once and for all in favor of what might inevitably become a privately funded hospital?. The question needs to be asked:  Would such a move be legal?  It is beginning to look more and more like the demise of Lower Mid-City was indeed a land grab.

Hmmmm.  Maybe the State could reuse the existing Reverend Avery C. Alexander Charity Hospital for half the money? 
Just a thought.......