Health Care

New Orleans is in the midst of a troubling public health crisis. Charity Hospital has historically served New Orleans' most vulnerable citizens and its continued closure further jeopardizes the city's uninsured population, stretches limited government services to the their breaking point, and puts unnecessary strain on the region's private hospitals and care providers. The current LSU/VA plan condemns the residents of New Orleans to years of inadequate medical resources while their proposed facility is built. Since Charity Hospital can be renovated at least four and a half years faster than the LSU/VA proposal for a new medical complex, the work of attracting top flight medical personnel to provide critical public health services can begin sooner by rebuilding Charity.

Below you will find a collection of articles pertaining to the preservation issue:

2014 City Wide Election: Where do the Candidates Stand?

The next couple of weeks will be very important in determining the fate of Big Charity. She was - and still is - YOUR building. She does not belong to politicians or developers.

We feel strongly that at a time when so many of our critical health needs have been neglected, RESIDENTS have a right to decide what will become of the Reverend Avery C. Alexander Charity Hospital.

As a response to current City policies that incarcerate the mentally ill, one potential adaptive reuse idea for the historic building is for a long-term mental health and medical research multi-complex. Such a use would meet the guidelines for full funding by the Health Education Authority of Louisiana (HEAL) - a bonding agency - thus costing the City nothing. 

Inpatient Hospitals and and outpatient clinics must work in tandem together in order to rehabilitate patients and prevent recidivism.  Imagine what a gift it would be to the friends and families of those who have fallen prey to the patient to prison pipeline to know that their loved ones are being cared for in a hospital instead of a jail cell. 

We will keep you posted on the position of incumbents and candidates regarding Charity as they roll in. In the mean time, feel free to explore our website to read our blog posts about the issue.  To learn more about why Save Charity Hospital thinks it's important, see the attached document at the bottom of this page.

Question to the candidates:  "Do you support studying the - [feasible] - concept of transforming the Charity Hospital Building into a world class mental health facility and research complex?"

Mayor
Michael Bagneris [Yes]
Manny "Chevrolet" Bruno [withdrawn]
Danatus N. King [Yes]
Mitch Landrieu Incumbent [Still no response]
 

Candidates District A
David A. Capasso [Yes]
Jason Coleman [Yes]
Susan Guidry [Yes]
Stephen Gordon [Yes]
Drew Ward [Yes]

District B
LaToya Cantrell Incumbent [Yes]

District C
Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson [No]
Lourdes Moran [Yes]
Nadine Ramsey [Yes]
Carlos Williams [Yes]
Eloise Williams [Yes]

District D
Joseph Bouie [Yes]
Jared Brossett [Yes]
Dalton Savwoir Jr. [Yes]

District E
James Gray II Incumbent [tentative yes]

Andre Kelly [Yes]
Cynthia Willard-Lewis [Yes]

At-Large Division 1
Eugene Green [Yes]
Stacy Head [tentative Yes]

Incumbent At-Large Division 2
Ernest "Freddie" Charbonnet [Yes]
Cynthia Hedge-Morrell [Yes]
Jason Williams [Yes]

Sheriff
Quentin R. Brown [Yes]
Charles C. Foti Jr. [Tentative Yes]
Marlin N. Gusman [Yes]
Ira Thomas [Yes]

Clerk Civil District Court
Dale Atkins [Yes]

Clerk Criminal District Court
Robbie Keen [Yes] 
Arthur A. Morrell [Tentative Yes]

Assessor
Erroll G. Williams

Coroner
Vincent A. Culotta Jr. [Yes]
Dwight McKenna [Yes]
Jeffrey Rouse [Yes]


For more information on the Candidates, please visit the Secretary of State website and select Orleans Parish.

 

Flying Without A Safety Net Means People Will Die‏

LSU's Decision to cut the charity out of the 7 Charity Hospitals in Southern Louisiana, instigated at the behest of the Governor to find a way to absorb Federal cuts to medicaid spending in Louisiana, speaks volumes about LSU's administrators disrespect for human life.  The Governor, for what appears to be political reasons, chose not to accept the Federal medicaid reinbursement that was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act.  This will hundreds of thousands uninsured, with nowhere to go.

Such a shame!  LSU physicians have a proven track record of offering some of the world's best and most advanced heathcare to all of their patients in Louisiana - regardless of class, race or economic situation.  Indeed, many insured people have communicated to SaveCharityHospital.com that they would go nowhere else.  Doctors have offered their services with compassion and concern to all who enter any of the 10 State-run Charity Hospitals.

Medical students have traditionally come to New Orleans to study at Charity Hospital due to the challenging conditions, a complicated genetic mix and to participate in the most advanced medical scientific research in the country.  It seems that LSU is now mostly concerned with capitalizing on students to increase profit margins while eliminating services and programs for patients. Would potential students choose to study at LSU if they had to do their residencies at private hospitals under public/private partnerships with other hospitals. That question needs to be asked.  The national agency that accredits graduate medical education programs is pressing LSU officials for information on their plans to revamp physician training programs.

Compassion does not seem to imbibe to administrators and some legislators that dance to the Machiavellian beat of the Governor's drum.

That the decision to cut funding for the thousands of indigent, working poor and uninsured was implemented without first creating a system to absorb such patients means that many in Louisiana could very well die.
  This is not hyperbole.  Yet this was predictable.

The decision to privatize the Charity system - a single payer system thats biggest flaw was a lack of transparency and accountability - was made well before Katrina.

Brad Ott, is an expert in heathcare and, in particular, the Charity Hospital system and has revived Advocates for Louisiana Public Healthcare [ALPH] in the wake of the latest cuts.   His thesis is titled "The Closure of New Orleans' Charity Hospital After Hurricane Katrina: A Case of Disaster Capitalism"

There is a lot of evidence that LSU planned on closing Charity before Katrina.  See the part of his thesis  (after or about page 60) that deals with that hypothesis):

Ott points out that there are options to closing funding gaps without eviscerating charity care from the LSU system. 
The funding options include redirecting funds currently in the private schemes Bayou Health and the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership to public safety net LSU and community hospitals and clinics: and reallocation of DSH funds from provide providers to LSU and rural hospitals.

An old trick that right-wing conservatives use in order to eliminate government programs - that many people around the world know well - is to:   Intentionally starve the system to create it's collapse and then use it's collapse to show that it doesn't work and we must privatize it.  It seems that the people of Louisiana have fallen prey to this trick.

We are presented with this false choice by Governor Jindal and the LSU board of supervisors.  While the State had already cut the Charity system to the bone then,  because of  a federal $859 Million dollar cut to Louisiana's medicaid program, Governor Bobby Jindal decided to privatize the whole system.

Who wins and who loses under this sort of system?  Without transparency and accountability, what is to stop private insurance companies and/or hospitals from continuing to game the system?  The idea of forking over truckloads of public money to such private institutions before such regulations or partnerships are in place is distressing at best.

If that weren't enough,  at the LSU Health HCE Fall Quarterly Meeting October 16th, 2012, keynote speaker Dr. Opelka, emphasized that heathcare's future is no longer about bricks and mortar. Yet that's all we heard from LSU about why they had to build a Taj-Ma-Hospital in Lower MidCity on top of a now razed historic neighborhood and community. As well, at some point in the near future, New Orleans City Council will meet to turn over of Pershing Place (Nanny Goat Park) - our public park where the doughboy statue stands as a monument to WWI soldiers - to the State to increase land for a hospital that may be 100 beds at best.   Why on earth does the State need MORE land and why on earth would the Mayor and City Council allow it? Will that take more of the street grid? When the I-10 is dismantled -  (as planned) - think of the traffic nightmare.

So what can you do?

 

Sign this petition to the Lousiana Division of Administration & Department of Health and Hospitals to keep Southeast Louisiana Mental Hospital Open

 

 

Palas Hotel will implode July 22

Reporting on the University Medical Center Board meeting yesterday.

[Agenda attached]

During the public comments portion of the agenda, the following questions were asked:

  • Did the State perform all of the archaeological and environmental assessment studies according to the full programmatic requirements and where can people obtain copies of them?
  • When will the strategic part of the business plan that was promised last fall to the Joint Budget Committee - in order to obtain approval for construction - be completed so we can know how the new UMC academic medical center cash flow without any extra help from the State?
  • VAMC representatives stated during their presentation at the last UMC board meeting that their new hospital will cost 707 Million dollars to activate.  How much will it cost to activate the new UMC Hospital given the fact that enormous amounts of money will be necessary to repatriate staff and patients and promote the hospital to medical tourists? - A key component of the business plan?
  • The dismantling of the Palas Hotel piece by piece is a plan to avoid asbestos contamination when the building is imploded, yet the debris they are removing is often picked up by the wind from inside the building and spreading around the area.  Is this method of abatement within environmental laws?

While no answers were given regarding a strategic plan or activation costs, Tom Rish - the State official overseeing Skanska/'Mapp - [construction manager at risk] - said they did do archaeological studies  but did not say if studies met full programmatic requirements.  He said DEQ is overseeing all work being done on the Palas Hotel site.

Earlier this year, State Facility Planning and Control had to ask for an additional million plus dollars to remove the windows from the Palas Hotel because they discovered asbestos.  Now they are removing the skin also – dismantling it piece by piece.

The public relations, marketing and advertising group Bright Moments have been brought in to inform the community about how to protect themselves from dust and environmental impacts that will happen when the Grand Old Palace Hotel is imploded on July 22.  The contractors handling the demolition are Controlled Demolition Inc. and Contaminant Control Inc.

Also during the presentation updating board members on construction of the new hospital, the audience learned that the FEMA money for the contents of Charity Hospital that was said to be a done deal, is not a done deal.  Apparently there is some discrepancy between State and Federal FEMA representatives over compensation. Save Charity Hospital readers will recall that part of the money to pay for building the new hospital in the business plan that was presented to the State last fall in order to get the "all clear" for construction was that FEMA money.   

The other part of the plan that made up the difference for lack of funding was 132 million dollars that was to come from the Louisiana Physicians Foundation.  According to State officials, there is still no contract solidifying that agreement though there is a "commitment".

Let's hope for New Orleanians who have lived without a world class medical teaching facility for almost 8 years since it was shuttered by the State and LSU - and will not see one for at least 2 more years - that this commitment is honored!

Propaganda machines - running in high gear

Since the presentation of the Kaufman-Hall report, very little has changed regarding the proposed UMC hospital in Lower Mid-City.

But you wouldn't know that from all the official propaganda that's been spewing forth from City Hall, LSU, and the various state agencies working for Governor Jindal.  In the wake of the Kennedy/Tucker/Vitter alternative proposal, all those institutions have been working overtime to bamboozle the public into thinking that the possibility of rebuilding a new hospital inside the existing Charity shell is somehow "off the table" or that "the time for debate has passed."

Let's make one thing clear right now: the Charity option remains viable.  It should be considered in full by the UMC Board and it should ultimately be pursued for the benefit of taxpayers, New Orleans, and the health of regional healthcare.  The powers that be continue to make it seem like the UMC plan is just rolling right along.  It's not.  Nobody has proposed a real way to overcome the $400 million financing gap.  There is still no actual business plan in place.  The UMC site is not cleared - over two dozen historic buildings remain in the site, along with several other modern structures, like the Blood Center.  Over 100 lawsuits pertaining to expropriations have not just magically disappeared.  There are still no plans for the dozens of vacant buildings in the former Charity and VA complexes in the CBD.

Now, Charity Hospital appears on the grand design for the proposed redevelopment of the Iberville projects - in the midst of a gargantuan, delusionally ambitious plan that gives HANO - and really, Pres Kabacoff - control over vast swaths of the city.  It's really disconcerting.  And, of course, Mayor Landrieu is as gung ho as ever about the "return to splendor" that stands to make New Orleans lose its cultural soul.

Taken together with the DDD, the LSU/VA hospitals disaster, the continued pressure from BioDistrict New Orleans, and the Iberville Redevelopment trapezoid, one almost begins to see New Orleans after the storm as Africa in the 1880s - put on a platter and carved up by the various colonial powers at a conference in Berlin.  Each project/district fiefdom in New Orleans has its land-grabbing lord.  And each lord has in turn pledged fealty to the Mayor, who, in turn, permits them to operate with impunity.  It's a bad system, one that's called economic development, but which more often actually based on expropriation, displacement, destruction of perfectly useful buildings, homes, and businesses, and unsustainable reliance on federal funds.

Notice that at the Mayor's press conference two weeks ago in support of the UMC project...the Mayor did not have a sea of residents or neighborhood groups behind him.  It was instead a bunch of figures, many of whom are reliant upon the state, who are ultimately dependant upon mega-development to retain power and wealth.  That's telling.

The media myths that are taking hold through repetition are ripe for rebuttals from Charity supporters.  Remind media outlets and public officials that attracting top talent and forming a great healthcare facility is not about Houston envy and short-sighted buildngs that require excessive land development.  Its about what you put inside of a hospital - and how that hospital can be sustained.

State awarded $475 million, yet still cannot proceed with new hospital

The federal arbitration process to determine how much FEMA will reimburse the state of Louisiana for the replacement of Charity Hospital has come back with a decision. The state will receive $475 million -- great news for the city -- and removes one of the roadblocks for returning healthcare services to New Orleans.

This money should be used to rebuild, not to destroy. It should be spent now. LSU proposes to sit on this money for years as they try to find some way to finance their costly and destructive Lower Mid-City proposal.

We now have enough funding to gut and rebuild Charity Hospital.

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Editorial boards take notice: Charity a State issue with National consequences

Well isn't this interesting...

As we enter a week of closed-door hearings that will decide how much money the State will receive from FEMA for hurricane-related damage done to Charity Hospital, two surprising editorials are condemning the lack of transparency and highlighting the far-reaching consequences of this flawed process.

Times-Picayune editorial, entitled "Pull the curtain on Charity Hospital hearings" decries the lack of transparency in the binding arbitration process, stating "New Orleanians and taxpayers across the nation are being kept out " of the decision-making process.

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Charity Hearing Behind Closed Doors

  In a process that continues to be marked by its lack of transparency and public participation, the dispute over how much FEMA owes Louisiana for damage done to Charity Hospital during Hurricane Katrina will go to binding arbitration on Monday, before a completely secret closed-door panel.

 A front-page Times-Picayune story reports that the three-judge arbitration panel will have a week-long hearing and then have 60 days or more to make their binding decision.

In a dispute that has yet to see a public hearing of any kind, it is outrageous that this hearing be conducted in secret.

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Support Save Charity Hospital – Buy our T-Shirt

 We cannot continue this work without your support.

Luckily, there's a way you can support SaveCharityHospital.com and look good doing it!

Our friends at DEFEND NEW ORLEANS have designed a "Save Charity Hospital"
T-shirt, with the proceeds going directly to this website.

$25

Please support the cause -- and us -- by buying one of our T-Shirts.

 

Wear them loud and proud around town!

Thank you for supporting us!

 

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BREAKING: Streamlining Commission Orders Independent Analysis!

On Tuesday, November 17th – by a 7-3 vote – the Commission on Streamlining Government passed a motion ordering an independent study weighing all possible alternatives to, and the efficacy of, the proposed $1.2 billion LSU medical complex. The study will represent the first ever independent analysis in the ongoing controversy over the abandonment of Charity Hospital and new plans to expropriate and demolish private property in Lower Mid-City to make way for a sprawling new medical center campus. The vote is an enormous victory for advocates of Charity Hospital and Lower Mid-City residents and business owners.

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Get Involved with SaveCharityHospital.com

Here are 4 easy ways you can help the fight to Save Charity Hospital:

  • Sign up for our Mailing List to receive important action updates.
     
  • Sign up to receive your FREE yard sign and bumper sticker.
     
  • Volunteer to help us at upcoming events and to deliver bumper stickers.
     
  • Donate to SaveCharityHospital.com to help us continue our advocacy work.

 

 

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