Tulane confronts LSU control over control of proposed new hospital

Scott Cowen, President of Tulane University, is calling on Tulane alumni to contact Louisiana legislators and tell them that the proposed new public hospital must be governed by an independent board of trustees. “Tell them that no organization should have majority control,” the university website reads. Cowen sent an e-mail to Tulane alumni on Friday and recorded a message on the university’s website.

"The constituents of this new hospital…will demand that the hospital be managed in an open and transparent manner with the appropriate checks and balances to ensure the hospital is fulfilling its mission and public funds are being properly used,” Cowen said in a recorded message. “These goals can best be achieved if a Board of Trustees, comprised of independent board members who represent the various community constituencies, governs the hospital. No one group or constituency should directly, or indirectly control the board seats."

Cowen has expressed his concern about the proposed hospital before, but this latest development is significant because it is the most direct and public confrontation to LSU's autonomy and control of the proposed new public hospital.

In a related development, Rep. Jim Tucker of Algiers, the Louisiana House Speaker, introduced a bill on Friday that would remove as the LSU Health Sciences Center as sole overseer of the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (MCLNO).

From the Tulane University website:

Dear Tulane Alumni,

I am writing today with a call to action as the Louisiana Legislature prepares to decide the fate of the new proposed public hospital for New Orleans, known as the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, or MCLNO.

This new academic medical center, which will be built and operated with public funds, serves the needs of multiple community constituencies:

1. patients, especially the under or uninsured;
2. the academic institutions which rely on the new hospital to meet their clinical care, research and education missions, including Xavier, Dillard, LSU and Tulane;
3. the greater community of New Orleans.

The new public hospital must be governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of independent trustees who represent the various constituencies. No one group or constituency should, directly or indirectly, control the board seats.

The city’s academic institutions that are critical to the staffing of the new hospital -- Tulane, LSU, Xavier and Dillard -- have been successful partners in providing healthcare to under-- or uninsured patients for centuries. It is a partnership that is equitable, effective and historic. It should not be changed.

Let your voice be heard, and help to preserve the legacy and ensure fair governance of the public hospital in New Orleans.



Scott S. Cowen