Senator David Vitter, House Speaker Jim Tucker, Treasurer John Kennedy and state leaders sent a letter today - Thursday - June 9, 2011 - to Governor Bobby Jindal envisioning an $800 million alternative for the new UMC Academic Medical Center that includes the potential of reconstituting a healthcare facility in the existing Charity Hospital shell. [Read attached letter for details]
The much more fiscally responsible plan could entail using Charity Hospital as one of the entities that would make up the new University Medical Center. Senator Vitter has been very vocal as of late in regards to his concerns that the 424 bed hospital proposed by LSU and the State is unsustainable over the long term. Treasurer Kennedy, too, has long been a critic of the project, especially it's lack of a business plan.
Vitter's and Kennedy's concerns are supported by a report that was presented to the UMC Board at their last meting that was written by Kaufman-Hall - an independent and well-respected financial consulting firm out of Illinois who specialize in health care and who were hired by the UMC board to do the number crunching for the UMC's long awaited - and much needed - business plan.
Kaufman-Hall - taking into consideration new factors and variables presented by LSU when they asked Kaufman-Hall to revise their report after they found the first draft that was leaked back in April - (not to their taste) - estimated that the new Academic Medical Center, at best, could only support between 330-403 beds. SaveCharityHospital.com reported on that presentation on June 4, 2011.
In the new proposal presented today by Senator Vitter and other Republican lawmakers, in addition to the possibility of reusing the existing Charity Hospital building for a smaller hospital, is to make use of a Jefferson Parish hospital as well as buying a share of Tulane University's New Orleans Hospital. The three combined would comprise the University Medical Center.
At a price of only $800 million dollars, the University Medical Center Management Corporation [UMCMC] would not only be able to afford the new hospital with the funds in hand, but it would also be able to employ the best construction materials, equipment, contractors and marketing firms that are necessary to attract the best doctors and medical staff in the world.