For years now, State Treasury John Kennedy has been telling anyone who would listen that the business plan for the new $1.2 Billion LSU hospital in New Orleans was unworkable.
At a minimum, Kennedy said the number of beds in the hospital needed to be reduced by almost half. The patient mix with the current beds simply would not generate the necessary revenues to operate the hospital without the taxpayers kicking in hundreds of millions of extra dollars, annually.
Kennedy correctly asked from where those revenues would come. Considering that the state has not been able to meet its existing financial obligations since Bobby Jindal became governor it was the right question.
Team Jindal and LSU ignored Kennedy and proceeded forward undeterred.
Today, there’s a story in the Baton Rouge paper about Jindal’s current efforts to privatize many of the state’s healthcare facilities.
Deep in the story is found an admission that Kennedy was correct about the business plan not working:
“I do think we are very close to a relationship, a lease of the Interim Hospital and ultimately the new UMC hospital to another hospital in New Orleans,” LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Chancellor Dr. Larry Hollier said.
The Interim Hospital is LSU’s public hospital in New Orleans.
“The new UMC” which Hollier referred to is the LSU-aligned $1.2 billion academic medical center complex under construction in New Orleans. Sunday Advocate, December 2, 2012.
Public in the dark
To my knowledge this is the first time that LSU has publicly admitted that LSU would not be operating or perhaps even be involved in the new hospital.
Leasing the new hospital to a private hospital would eliminate the need for going back to the taxpayers to operate the hospital. Perhaps this was the plan all along, but why was the public kept in the dark until now.
Another dark spot
The question not yet answered is where will the LSU Medical School in New Orleans train its doctors?
Some will say that, obviously, the doctors will be trained in the new facility. Nothing is obvious with the Jindal Administration. The question needs to asked and answered.
Meanwhile, my hat’s off to Kennedy who knows how to read a business plan. Jindal and LSU may have pulled a fast one on us mullets, but not Kennedy.