What’s more embarrassing?
That’s the question we’ve been asking lately because it appears that the UMC Board still won’t consider retrofitting Rev. Avery C. Alexander Charity Hospital as one of the alternatives to the current, unsustainable, destructive proposal for the University Medical Center.
Is it more embarrassing to leave a barren, razed site with no hospital on it (but a working hospital in Charity)…or to attempt to build a partial facility in the Lower Mid-City site (instead of in Charity) only to see the attempt fail or bankrupt the state? Tell the UMC Board that it's more important to avoid risking the loss of the hospital altogether. The Board must pursue the Charity option - the Governor said all options should be considered.
Jerry Jones with the state’s Office of Facility Planning and Control has openly suggested that the state/UMC construct “shell buildings” in the UMC Footprint. So not only will the site, even in the best of all possible worlds, contain massive expanses of vacant land for years, the buildings that are actually constructed (if any are) will contain large vacant sections.
It’s nearly six years after Katrina, and we still don’t have Charity - or full healthcare services more generally - back online. If the state had opted for the renovation of Charity into a modern facility, the hospital would likely have been completed by now, according to the RMJM Hillier plan.
What is the UMC so afraid of in the end? Are they afraid that the consultants would tell them the Charity option is the most viable if it were included as part of a full-blown study?
Now is the time to speak out and tell the UMC Board unequivocally that it MUST consider the Charity option as one of “all” plans that the Governor ordered the Board to consider. Sign the petition – which goes automatically to members of the state legislature, the Governor, and others.
Why is it sill appropriate to make this push? Because the UMC Board STILL does not have adequate financing in place to build the first phase – just the first phase, mind you – of the proposed UMC hospital. There is still no business plan in place as well – even if the site is cleared, building on it for the sake of avoiding embarrassment doesn’t eliminate the larger problem: the UMC as proposed is unsustainable. It will not cashflow.
The Board's next meeting, always subject to change, is set for September 8. There's a real opportunity to change the course of this project before that date - if you make your voice heard.