New Orleans’ University Medical Center wins approval
Construction is expected to begin within weeks on a $1.1 billion research and teaching hospital in New Orleans to replace the hurricane-wrecked Charity Hospital. The plan won approval from the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, which was the last significant hurdle stalling the hospital and marked the end of years of wrangling between the Legislature, the governor’s office and Louisiana State University over the size and scope of the facility. The hospital, expected to open in 2015, has been on the drawing board for six years, since Hurricane Katrina flooded and shuttered the 1930s-era Charity Hospital. Gov. Bobby Jindal supported the latest construction plan for the new 424bed public hospital that won’t require state-backed borrowing, which had become a key stumbling block for getting legislative support. The new business plan for the University Medical Center includes a mix of already-earmarked state financing, federal hurricane recovery funds and third-party dollars. It contains some uncertainties, however. The business plan assumes $156 million more in federal hurricane recovery funding than the state has in hand.