This is a hugely important development. Without backing from the State, Jerry Jones, State Facility Planning and Control Director, reports that construction for the Mega-Charity replacement hospital will be delayed for at least another year. That means we will be looking at at least 11 years since the New Orleans Mid-City and downtown area has had a hospital.
At City Council's public works committee meeting earlier today - [segment begins at about 15 minutes] - SaveCharityHospital.com learned that the State are also absent other monies previously factored into the 1.2 billion dollar figure needed to support their 424 bed design. According to Tom Rish, who was representing Jerry Jones and State Facility Planning and Control at the "information only" meeting, $39 million of the 475 million dollars of FEMA money allocated to the project by an arbitration hearing created by Mary Landrieu can only be used for repairs to the current Charity Hospital building.
We cannot afford to let healthcare be held hostage to bickering over dollars. FEMA awarded New Orleans all the money we need to rebuild and retrofit Avery C. Alexander Charity Hospital. Let's get it done.
Note: You can watch today's Ways & Means video here: Henry's amendment begins at approximtely 4:23:30.