What do administrators of the new VA hospital know that we don't?

There were some interesting developments at the UMC Board meeting last Thursday April 12, 2012.

First on the agenda was the selection - by lot - of either Delgado Community College or Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College for the revolving seat to succeed Dillard University "pursuant to Section 2(d) of Article 6 of the Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation of UMCMC. " 

In a somewhat mechanical and unremarkable moment, Delgado was selected by a draw to serve a "two (2) year term to commence upon the expiration of the two (2) year term of Charles Teamer representing Dillard University in August 2012."

This will be convenient for BioDistrict New Orleans who have been working closely with Delgado Community College on the plan to educate a workforce that will be conveyored into laboratories and research facilities to support the upper echelons of those fortunate enough to receive NIH grants.  BioDistrict New Orleans will hold their regular quarterly pubilc board meeting today - Thursday, April 19, 2012.

The UMC Board meeting was held at the new Tulane Cancer Research Center, a beautiful new facility designed by RMJM, the same architectural firm involved with the study that proved that the existing Charity Hospital building could be retrofited with UMC's brand new facility for half the cost of the building currently going up in lower mid-city.

They might want to keep that in mind in this new era of LSU's budget and staff cuts, the entire lopping off of programs, and the fact that the board -- as of today - have not acquired the added 200 million they need to complete the Ambulatory Care Building or the second parking garage.  That money was to come from from the LSU Physicians Foundation and FEMA reimbursements for the contents of Charity Hospital.  The UMC board have only spent approximately 132 million dollars of their 900 million dollar budget.  At SaveCharityHospital.com, we believe that it is never too late to do the right thing.  

If this weren't enough, additionally, the UMC Board do not have a strategic plan that shows how the board will fund and operate the new replacement hospital.  In the presentation given to the board by Julie Catellier, director, it was noted that while construction of the new VA hospital will cost just under 1 billion dollars, activation of their new facility will cost 707 million dollars - bringing the total cost to 1.6 billion dollars.  This announcement drew gasps from some of those in the room - and so it should.  Kaufman Hall and Associates projected in a previous meeting last year that activation of the new UMC facility will cost at least between 100 and 170 million dollars.  This should give representative Fannin, Chair of the Legistative Joint Budget Committee, heartburn. 

Most interesting however, was the answer given by Ms. Catellie to a question posed by Byron Harrell from the UMC Board steering committee. He asked what she saw as the differences between the two hospitals.  In her response she said that the VA offers full continuum of care - [under income requirements, returning soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan enter into a 5 year period of care] and that, while LSU does not have a long term care mission, the VA will share with LSU on their strengths.  IE: trauma, obstetrics, and prisoner care.

Obstetrics?

Do administrators of the new VA hospital know something that we don't?

Or... did representatives of LSU advising the VA - as they pound in pilings - forget to inform VA administrators that LSU has cut their obstetrics program?  Their Veterans will have to cross town to get care at Touro and Tulane's Lakeside facility in Metairie - defeating the purpose of having the hospitals built side by side with students and patients not having to leave the campus.

The VA will have a beautiful new hospital at it's approximate completion of the end of 2015, and it will certainly be easy to spot across the vast wasteland that once was a thriving historic neighborhood in Lower MidCity.  

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