On Monday, Louisiana State University and the Department of Veterans
Affairs announced a plan to build a new $1.2 billion medical center in New
Orleans. The hospital will probably take over the role played by historic
Charity Hospital, although no official announcement has been made yet on the
older hospital. Construction is slated for October 2008. Some doctors groups
have criticized the plan as unnecessary, arguing that damage to the first floor
and basement of the hospital could be repaired fairly easily. Others have
argued the project will be too late to help the city’s current healthcare
More controversially, the new facility will be built in a part of the city that flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Planners say
they want to prepare for the worst by building the structure 15 feet above sea
level and ensuring that the facility is stocked with enough food, water and
medicines to last a week in a crisis.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has abanoned his effort to impose a bed tax on hospitals in the state after encountering fierce resistance. Corzine still wants to increase the state’s sales tax from six to seven percent to ease New Jersey’s fiscal crisis. But it’s looking like that probably won’t happen either. The New York Times reports:
Earlier Monday, Mr. Corzine backed away from a plan that would have
brought in $430 million by taxing hospital beds in the state, conceding
in a morning radio interview that the plan was dead. "I’ve relented on
that," Mr. Corzine said in an interview on WKXW-FM, 101.5. "There are
fights you’re going to have. That isn’t the biggest part of my budget.
And it’s out."