Racial & Economic Justice

Since its inception, Charity Hospital has served citizens of New Orleans who have been traditionally excluded from the spoils of industry and commerce. Charity Hospital’s primary mission was always to assist the poor and vulnerable of New Orleans. Before Hurricane Katrina, it was doing just that, providing quality medical care to all patients who walked through the doors, regardless of ability to pay. Two-thirds of the medical care provided to the uninsured of New Orleans was provided by Charity Hospital. Since LSU's decision to close Charity Hospital, former patients are now crowding volunteer clinics and taking up scarce emergency room beds at private hospitals, or are going without any care at all. Before Katrina, 75% of Charity Hospital’s patients were African American and 85% were low-income. The decision to permanently shutter Charity Hospital was made right after National Guardsmen and volunteer doctors and nurses helped remediate part of the building to accommodate returning residents. Deprived of this critical safety net, the city's uninsured–disproportionately poor and African American–were discouraged from returning. Those that have returned have suffered under the reduced access to care. The death rate in New Orleans has skyrocketed since the storm, and according to a study by the City, is nearly 50% higher than it was in the years preceding the federal levee failure. Especially in one the nation's poorest cities, New Orleans, governmental policies and decisions that have a disproportionately negative impact on those that are already vulnerable must be viewed with vigilant skepticism. The decision to hastily shutter Charity Hospital is striking in its brazen disregard for the consequences on those that were already marginalized in society and only further victimized by the levee failure and the incapable federal response. In addition, the Programmatic Environmental Assessment estimates that “approximately 618 persons" live in footprint of the proposed LSU/VA hospitals. As the VA site reports, “88 percent of [the residents] are minority and 46 percent are low income.”

Picayune: "LSU won't let facts get in hospital's way"

Times-Picayune: "LSU won't let facts get in hospital's way"
by James Gill

The allegation that state and LSU officials are telling a pack of lies in order to screw the feds out of several hundred million dollars does not come from a source with any claim to disinterest.

It comes from a coalition that wants LSU to abandon its plans for a sparkling new medical complex and reopen Big Charity.

But the coalition has produced plenty of evidence that must require FEMA to consider the possibility of jiggery-pokery.

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41 Organizations Call on Governor and City Leaders For Open Process In Decision-Making For Major Hospitals

On Wednesday, March 25th, 41 local and national organizations - including a diverse range of community groups, professional organizations and planning associations - are asking state and city leaders to engage the public more directly in the search for a solution. Attached is the press release from the event.

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